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Panthers Wrap-Up: Avalanche 4, Panthers 3 (OT)

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 1 1 1 0 3
Avalanche 0 1 2 1 4
FLA - PPG - M. Goc (5), S. Weiss (12), T. Kopecky (6)

COL - P. Mueller (1), PPG - P. Mueller (2), P. Stasny (13), R. O'Reilly ()
DENVER (AP) - Ryan O'Reilly scored 3:55 into overtime, as his shot trickled through the legs of Florida goalie Jose Theodore, and the Colorado Avalanche rallied for a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

Paul Stastny tied it late in regulation, and Peter Mueller scored twice - his first goals since April 2010. Mueller has been dealing with concussion-like symptoms the last two seasons, missing all of 2010-11 and a good portion of this season.

"You're always disappointed any time you lose. That's sports. I took a lot of pride in our road record early on and now we've fallen off that so we have a couple of games to address it and keep moving forward."

- Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen
1. Back Between The Pipes: Missing the previous five games due to a lower body injury, Wednesday night marked the return to the net for goaltender Jose Theodore. It was a tough first night back for the Panthers goaltender as he was tested throughout the entire night. Peppered with nine shots in the first, Theodore stopped them all. The following two periods, Colorado really amped up their offensive onslaught. In the second, Theodore faced 16 shots with only a Peter Mueller goal five-hole 6:50 into the period being the only blackmark. In the third, Colorado put up one more shot (17) and were rewarded with two more goals. Including two shots in overtime, Theodore was tested 44 times on the night. Welcome back indeed.

2. Monkey Off The Back: Playing in the 600th game of his NHL career (all with Florida), Stephen Weiss has put a lot of pressure on himself over the last few weeks. With the top line struggling to find the back of the net and the team in turn finding wins hard to come by, Weiss has been vocal about finding ways to get the line going, himself especially. On Wednesday, hard work paid off as the assistant captain came up with a big second period goal to end a 15-game goalless drought. Skating between two Avalanche players in the offensive zone, Weiss got a step. The forward was clipped and was able to put the puck into the net while on the ice and sliding into the net. The play went to review as the puck went in off of Weiss' glove but replay showed it to be a good goal. Seeing the bench following the goal, you could see the relief from the Panthers and their longest tenured player as the goal will hopefully springboard Weiss and the top line once again.

3. Two Goal Lead Not Enough: Things looked good for the Panthers just 20 seconds into the third period as Tomas Kopecky gave a 3-1 lead after a tap in goal into the wide open net after Mikael Samuelsson found the foward wide open on the rush. The Panthers couldn't keep the lead however. It all started with a too many men penalty at the 2:53 mark. There Colorado converted as Peter Mueller netted his second of the night off a snipe 3:36 into the third. Colorado had the momentum and they built off of it after killing off a four-minute Panthers power play about midway through the period. Florida could only muster five shots on the four-minute advantage. The Avalanche buzzed around the Panthers net and were rewarded with 3:17 left to play in the third as Paul Stasny scored on his own rebound while on the rush. Scoreless the rest of the way, Florida had their chances in overtime. Their best came as Mike Weaver, Tomas Fleischmann and Weiss found themselves on a 3-on-1 rush. Fleischmann passed to Weiss who went to the back hand but only to be denied by J.S. Giguere. Colorado would come back and Ryan O'Reilly completed the comeback as he scored five-hole on Theodore with 1:05 left on the clock. It was a dissapointing one-point takeaway, that's for sure.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@Ewener: Overtime: win or go home or if #FlaPanthers; time to award the other team with a pt. 5 OTL to W = 57 Pts! #C'monman

@TylerSmith80: The #FlaPanthers have got to shake things up. Totally unacceptable losing in that fashion. Unreal.

@greyXstar: #FlaPanthers are friggin killing me here!

@corradino48: All the chances wasted again for another OT loss.  #FlaPanthers

@davidburitica: I honestly believe the #Flapanthers are cursed

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Joe Fiore: Seriously. This Overtime loss thing is getting really old. I'll give credit to Theodore, he did pretty damn good tonight, but they really need to work on their powerplay. Four straight minutes and they only got five shots off. You have Theodore back, so help him.

Shawn Matthewman: Tallon needs to make a trade. Shake things up....... Pathetic how we keep giving away points.

Tim Steuber: WHY DON'T THESE GUYS KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE PUCK IN FRONT OF THE NET?!! what is with all this playing with it and then trying some lame backhander? really beginning to look like they've lost what they had. skidding badly now.

Jeff Main: This is too bad. Couldnt hold them off. 1st in the division was theirs to lose, which they did, but it is theirs to recapture!

Matthew Jagielski: Like I Said. Ugly ending. Where is the emotion we used to have at the beginning of the year. Come on guys. Get your stuff together.

5. Recording the first goal of the game as he scored from in close on a Panthers power play, Marcel Goc netted his fifth goal of the season. It was also the first time in five games that the Panthers scored the game's first goal. The last time came on January 5th against the New York Rangers. The goal scorer? Marcel Goc. The forward has five points in six games since returning from an injury.

It took a while to score his 12th of the season, but Stephen Weiss finally did it as he ended a 15-game goalless streak when he scored with 1:12 left in the second period. His last goal came over a month ago (December 5th against Washington when he scored two goals).

15. Colorado has had a pretty good season in terms of comebacks this season. Down 3-1 in the third, the Avalanche scored the next three goals to take away a 4-3 overtime victory. The Avs earned their 15th come-from-behind vicory on the season (25 victories overall). Colorado also improved their post-regulation record to 11-2 on the season.

The Avalanche peppered the Panthers with 44 shots on the night. It was the most shots allowed by Florida this season, besting the previous mark of 41 shots which was seen four times this season, most recently in a 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Jan. 13.

A game after becoming the Panthers all-time assists leader with 232, center Weiss hit another milestone as he skated in the 600th game of his NHL career (all with Florida). Weiss is second on the list in terms of games played in a Cats uniform, trailing Radek Dvorak (613).

Peter Mueller
Scored the Avalanche's first two goals of the game (his first two goals of the season) and picked up the primary assist on the game-tying goal with time winding down in the contest.

2 Goals, 1 Assist 5 Shots, +1
Florida continues their three game road trip with the first of two games in back-to-back nights on Friday night. They'll play the Western Conference leading Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. Chicago is currently the top dog in the West after downing the Buffalo Sabres by a 6-2 final Wednesday night. The Hawks have recorded 62 points (28-13-6) in their first 47 games of the season and sit two points ahead of Vancouver in the West and one point ahead of Detroit (own division). Chicago is led offensively by sniper Marian Hossa (49 points in 46 games) and captain Jonathan Toews (48 points in 47 games). Corey Crawford and Ray Emery have split time between the pipes with Crawford getting most of the work (18-10-4 to 10-3-2). Both netminders have similar stats in save percentage with Emery toting a .907 save percentage to Crawford's .904 save percentage.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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