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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 2, Hurricanes 0

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 1 0 2
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
FLA - T. Fleischmann (22), EN - M. Goc (8)

SUNRISE, Fla (AP) - Jose Theodore made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Sunday to maintain the Southeast Division lead.

Tomas Fleischmann scored in the second period, and Marcel Goc added an empty-net goal.

"When you look at the scoreboard and you’re up by one, you know that every save is big and I was just seeing the puck well and the guys played well in front of me. And at this time of year, it’s all about competing and playing playoff hockey and that’s what we did tonight."

- Goaltender Jose Theodore on the second period
1. In A Flash: The Panthers came out strong against a Carolina team that had played the night before. If it wasn't for the play of Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward, Florida might have been up two if not more after the first period. Instead, Ward turned aside all 14 shots to keep the game scoreless. Turned aside time after time, the Panthers didn't get frustrated and came out with a goal 3:22 into the second period. Taking a feed from Stephen Weiss on the rush, Tomas Fleischmann beat Ward with a quick shot for his 22nd of the year. It was the winger's second goal in as many games. His goal was almost identical to the one in Pittsburgh as it gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead on their opponents within the first eight minutes of the second period.

2. Theodore Unreal: While one goal ultimately turned out to not be enough in Pittsburgh on Friday, it certainly was against Carolina on Sunday. That's because Panthers netminder Jose Theodore was, by far, the best player on the ice. Theodore only faced five shots in the opening period but when the Hurricanes came to life in the second, he was there as well. Carolina put up 19 shots on the Panthers net and he turned them all aside. His best of the period came with the Panthers on the power play late in the stanza. Patrick Dwyer raced in on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break and fired a shot. Theodore turned aside the shot and then dove back to deny Dwyer on a second attempt (SEE HERE). Theodore then came up big in stopping Andreas Nodl 2:33 into the third period, stopping the Canes forward off the rebound point blank. Theodore would add two more saves to his third period toal of ten when he turned back Brandon Sutter's attempts from in close with 3:23 left on the clock. Turning aside all 34 Carolina shots, Theodore notched his third shutout of the season, first at home and first since December 8th.

3. Keeping Ahead of the Jones, er Washington: It will be a race to the finish with just 14 games left on the schedule and it looks to be like it will come down the last few days of the season between the Panthers, Capitals and lets not forget the Jets. A point up on the Caps to start the game (also with a game in hand), Florida kept that point advantage as Washington also earned a 2-0 shutout (over Toronto). A huge team effort by the Cats, led by Theodore between the pipes. The penalty kill stopped both Hurricanes attempts (one shot) and the offense was just enough. With Fleischmann's goal in the second, the Panthers looked to make it 2-0 as Jarred Smithson was thought to score a goal with three minutes on the clock. Replays showed that Smithson kicked the puck into the net however. Holding onto the 1-0 lead, and with Ward pulled for an extra attacker, the Panthers won the draw and Marcel Goc deposited the puck into the empty net for a definite 2-0 lead with 1:32 left to play. Florida now has 77 points on the season (32-23-13)
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@coasterg: Theo with the shutout, #FlaPanthers win 2-0 over Carolina. Leafs up next, need to keep the red rolling! #NHL

@canesfan6700: Jose theodore stone walls Carolina got to love it #FlaPanthers

@patty_ann: "First Place Florida." I love how it just rolls off the tongue :) #FlaPanthers

@TylerSmith80: Big time win for the #FlaPanthers. Jose Theodore with a huge shutout. Has been outstanding recently. Keep it rolling Panthers! #1stPlace

@reneeb2010: I wake up from a nap to find out the @FlaPanthers won their game?! Hell yeah! Best news I've heard in a while :) lets go #FlaPanthers

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Carsten Frenz: Theodore is carrrying this team right now! :)

Corey Dumas: <---- PROUD PANTHER FAN Great team effort tonight! I was happy to part with my rat tonight as he flew over the glass onto the ice!

King Tiny: Big win for us.... Hopefully we keep playing strong. Goc Is playing big right now

Matt Keysers: Forget matching up lines and all that strategy stuff guys...just keep wearing the blue...sorry it doesnt work so well with the the red slogan but go with what works...great game...full blue home stand!!!!

Joe Fiore: Theodore couldn't of played any better tonight. That was an amazing game for him..

3. After allowing one goal in a shootout loss to the Penguins, Theodore was one better in pitching the shutout. In stopping all 34 Hurricane's shots, Theodore recorded his third shutout of the season but just his first at the BankAtlantic Center.

5. Sundays have been pretty great for the Panthers of late. Going 0-2-1 in their first three Sunday games, Florida has now won five of their last six (5-1) and have been on the winning side of their last three Sunday affairs (Montreal, Ottawa, Carolina). The Panthers have two more Sunday games this season (Mar. 25 vs Islanders, Apr. 1 at Detroit).

9. The Panthers were active in the offenisve zone in the opening period, posting 14 shots on net. That was nine more than Carolina's five. Two Panthers alone contributed six shots on net with both Stephen Weiss and Mike Santorelli registering three shots a piece.

19. Posting just five shots in the opening period, Carolina threw everything at Florida in the second recording almost four times as many shots with 19.

22. Scoring his second goal in as many games, Tomas Fleischmann gave the Panthers the all-important 1-0 lead midway through the second period. That total has him tied for the team lead with Kris Versteeg and is one away from tying his career high.

Jose Theodore
Was the Panthers best player for the second game in a row and was rewarded at the end with a huge two points after picking up his third shutout of the season.

34 Shots, 34 Saves, 1.000 SV%
After an off-day on Monday, the Panthers return to action as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs. Florida has taken the first three meetings of the season series, scoring five goals in each of them as they have outscored Toronto 15-7. The Maple Leafs, in dire need of two points in their push to the playoffs, were shut out in Washington 2-0 on Sunday to move to 30-31-8 (68 pts) on the season. They trail Washington by eight points for the final playoff spot. Toronto is led offensively by Phil Kessel (71 points in 69 games) and Joffrey Lupul (67 points in 66 games), although Lupul has been out since March 7th with a seperated shoulder. In goal, both Jonas Gustavsson (39 games played) and James Reimer (28 games played) have seen time. Gustavsson has a 17-16-3 record with a .906 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average while Reimer has a 11-11-4 record with a .899 save percentage and a 3.07 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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