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Cats Pick Up Point vs. 'Canes

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Jesse Agler's Post-Game Blog:

Third period gets started with Ray Whitney in the box serving the final 2:51 of his high-sticking double minor. Cats and Canes both trying to extend

their winning streaks to four games and also both trying to get themselves more into the division race. Plenty on the line here in this final 20

minutes of regulation.

With 21 seconds left in the penalty, Olli Jokinen called for interference after a collision with Rod Brind'Amour and so a little 4-on-4 hockey before the Hurricanes go back on the power play for just under the full time. Canes had some seriously sustained pressure for before the Cats finally cleared with about 20 seconds left on the penalty, but they got the job done and it's 5-on-5 once more.

13:42 left, Cats will get another power play as Andrew Hutchinson is sent off for holding. Nothing happening for the Panthers, though, no real chances as the power play comes to an end. Florida outshooting Carolina 29-14 at this moment, but the two goals each team has scored is all that really matters at this point.

Midway through the period, another Cane penalty...this time Anton Babchuk for hooking as he took Rostislav Olesz down in the faceoff circle. Cats entered tonight with the fourth best power play in the league but the unit has struggled more often than not tonight. Crowd trying to inspire the men in red, less than 10 left in regulation and their guys on the power play.

Another kill for Carolina and give them credit, a very agressive attack when the Panthers have the puck and an extra man. The Carolina penalty killers have been going right at whichever Panther has possesion of the puck.

Onto overtime, as neither team able to get it done in the third period. Carolina had just two shots on goal in the final 20 minutes of regulation, while, for the third straight period, the Cats had 12. Just 30 seconds into OT, Jay Bouwmeester called for a tripping penalty, and, wouldn't you know it, about a minute and a half later, Eric Cole pushed a rebound home for the

game-winning, power play goal, his 15th of the season.

Tough, tough loss for the Panthers. Cats outshot the Canes 36-17 and outchanced them by a ton, as well. But after two goals in the first 5:36 of

the game, the Panthers were never able to push one past goalie John Grahme and into the net. Not to say they didn't have their opportunities to do so, Panthers went 0-6 on the power play. So, a couple of days off to get ready for this same Canes team on Tuesday in Carolina. It'll be a radio only game, coverage beginning at 630 with Panther Preview Driven by JM Lexus. Puck

drops from RBC Center at 7 before returning home for Philly and Montreal Wednesday and Friday. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend, be safe, and go Cats!


Jesse Agler's 2nd intermission blog:

2nd Intermission Blog:

After all the clean play in the first, both the Cats and the Canes got whistled for early penalties in the second period, though both were killed off. Panther power play after a Mike Commodore hooking call provided a slew of chances as they controlled play almost the entire time they had the extra man. Great passing on the PP and for that matter, Panthers have had a bunch

of on-the-tape passes all night long. As Moller loves to say in a 2-1 game, "The next goal is going to be HUGE!" We'll see which net it's in.

The character of this second period seems to be that Carolina controls play for a while, but then the Cats get a couple of really quick, but really

quality chances going the other way. Neither team has yet to score, and while the Canes were on their most recent power play, the Panthers probably had more scoring opportunities.

With about four minutes left, the Panthers made a pair of turnovers in their own zone, the second of which lead to Justin Williams 17th goal of the year and to a tie game, 2-2 now. Panthers have seriously out-shot and out-chanced Carolina, but here we are tied up late in the second period.

Never fun to get a stick to the face, as Jozef Stumpel did late in the period, but since Ray Whitney's stick drew blood, a double minor on the

Carolina winger and so four minutes of power play time for the Cats, of which 2:51 will carry over into the third, game 2-2 after two. I'll be back

after the game, enjoy the exciting conclusion.


Jesse Agler's 1st intermission blog:

1st Intermission Blog:

In each of the Panthers three games, all of which they have won, the other team has scored first and the Cats have had to come from behind. That will not be the case tonight, as Olli Jokinen blew one by Carolina goalie John Grahme just 24 seconds into the game on a slapshot from just inside the blue line. Panthers then had another great opportunity just a couple of minutes later, but Ville Peltonen hit the post.

Following a quick Carolina flurry, the line of Jokinen, Nathan Horton, and Gary Roberts had a breakaway and some beautiful tic-tac-toe passing lead to an easy Roberts goal as Jokinen gave him a perfect feed and just like that, 2-0 only five and a half minutes into the game.

Earlier this week, Gary Roberts and Ed Belfour, a couple of former Maple Leafs burned Toronto and tonight, a former Panther, Ray Whitney, playing in

his 800th career game, got back at his old team a little bit, scoring his 13th goal of the year midway through the period on a great pass from

Carolina captian Rod Brind'Amour. 2-1.

Got our first penalty of the game with just about three minutes left as another former Panther, Bret Hedican got called for a slash at 16:51 giving the Cats 4th ranked power play its first chance of the night. Cats unable to score but several great shots kept the pressure on Carolina and the Panthers head to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead. And, the cherry on top, no Panther

penalties in the period.

2-1 after one, I'll be back with more after the second.


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