Prior to each game, Cats radio play-by-play announcer Steve "Goldie" Goldstein will post his thoughts on what the Panthers need to focus on to defeat the opponent. See below for today's tips on how to beat the Carolina Hurricanes:
Goldie's Tips for Tonight's Game:
Following last night's strong 5-3 win vs. NHL leading Carolina, the Panthers are back at it at home tonight. Olli Jokinen came through with two goals and an assist and was the game's #1 star one day after signing his new four year contract. Florida has scored 11 goals in its past two games in beating arguably the league's two best teams - Ottawa and Carolina. Since December 1st, the Cats are now 12-3-3 at home and if they continue this run will be right in the middle of the playoff race. This team is resiliant and continues t0 play hard every night, a tribute to the leadership of this team and the coaching staff. I expect the same spirited effort tonight. For the first time in the franchise's 13 year history, the Panthers will play back to back home games against the same team.
In order to sweep the Hurricanes, Jokinen and the offense will need to do what they did last night. Keep the pressure on offensively. Florida fired 21 first period shots on goal, scoring twice. Continued production from the blistering top line of Jokinen, Gelinas and Stumpel will be key. The speed of players like Olesz, Gelinas and Kolnik are factors aganist the fast Hurricanes.
The Cats penalty killing was perfect last night, going five for five, including a Carolina 5-on-3. More of the same will be needed tonight. If you win the special teams battle against the Hurricanes, you win the game. Plain and simple.
My big key tonight is toughness. Familiarity breeds contempt and the Panthers and Hurricanes have seen a lot of each other lately. Florida's big guys like Chris Gratton, Olli Jokinen, Steve Montador, Jamie Allison and Nathan Horton need to pound the smaller Hurricanes and make them pay for every inch. Nice job by Horton last night showing emotion and dropping the gloves with Craig Adams. Remember, Carolina is not as desperate as the Panthers and taking the 'Canes will away will lead to a win.
Should be another great night at the rink as the Panthers have played their best hockey of the season the last 2 games. Face-off is 7:30, tickets are still available and Randy Moller and I will call the action on WQAM Radio, 560 AM on the dial. Enjoy the game!!!