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Cats Fall 4-2 in Carolina

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Goldie's Post-game blog:

The Panthers couldn't come up with the big goal here in Carolina and lose to the Hurricanes 4-2 after a Cory Stillman empty net goal. The Cats dominated 5 on 5 in the first and 2nd periods and were tied at 1 after 2. But penalties by Chris Gratton and Nathan Horton gave the Hurricanes a 4 on 3 power play to start the 3rd and Carolina cashed in. They then made it 3-1 before Horton scored his 2nd of the game to cut the lead to a goal in the final minutes. With Alex Auld on the bench the Panthers could not get the equalizer. Carolina scores the only power play goal and in effect, wins buy a goal against the Cats for the 2nd time in a row. The Panthers are home Wednesday for the Flyers and Montreal on Friday. Both are big as the dropping the home and home to Carolina ended the 3 game winning streak and puts the Cats in must win situation halfway through the season. The effort has been consistant, the goaltending usually good enough but the Panthers cannot take charge of games offensively and it is hurting them in a big way.

Goldie's 2nd intermission blog:

Panthers bottled up Carolina's speed for most the 2nd period. In fact for a 20 minute period of time from the 1st period in to the 2nd the Hurricanes had just 2 shots on goal. The Cats kept the offensive pressure on but couldn't beat Cam Ward. Carolina got its speed game going towards the end of the period and it created a goal. Off a draw in the Hurricanes zone Justin Williams got control of the puck and skated through all 3 zones, beating Alex Auld to tie the game. When we start the 3rd Carolina will have a 4 on 3 power play. The Panthers are playing a strong game but the inability to get that second goal when leading 1-0 could come back to haunt them. Still, had you said the Cats would be tied here in Carolina after 2 periods you would take it. Big 2o minutes ahead...we'll see what this team is made of!!!

Goldie's 1st intermission blog:

Solid opening 20 minutes for the Panthers. They killed off 3 Carolina power plays and got a goal from Nathan Horton. Horton took a super feed from Bryan Allen and at center ice. Horton raced down the right side and lifted one by Cam Ward for his 12th goal. Horton now has 5 in his last 9 games. Alex Auld was outstanding during the Hurricanes power plays. Good start as the Cats look for a 3rd striaght road win.

Goldie's Pre-game Blog:

The Panthers are back at work after the holiday weekend. I hope you enjoyed yours but it's hockey time once again. The Cats are here in Raleigh, North Carolina for the first of 4 visits this season. Tonight's game is the back end of a home and home. Carolina won at the BankAtlantic Center Saturday 3-2 in overtime. The Panthers special teams did not come through thanks to a lack of execution and a lack of judgment by the referees. Despite more than doubling the Hurricanes in shots and nearly tripling the scoring chances Carolina wound up with more power plays. Included in that was the poor overtime call on Jay Bouwmeester that led to the game winning goal. But...the Cats had chances themselves a man up and did not convert. They also had chances early in the game to bury Carolina and did not do it. In picking up a point, Florida now has gained 7 of 8 possible points. A win tonight and they will remain on a roll. It's a huge week with the Flyers in town tomorow and Montreal coming to Sunrise Friday.

Alex Auld is back in net tonight after Ed Belfour played the last 5 games. Stephen Weiss will likely sit out with his shoulder injury. The Panthers are confident knowing they have dominated the first 2 games against Carolina this season and continue to play well. The key now is making sure they win the games they are supposed to. No TV only on QAM at 6:30.

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