"They outworked us, it’s as simple as that. We weren’t there for the whole game. We have to work harder than that. You can’t play half a game or a period and expect to win."
- Panthers interim head coach Peter Horachek.
1. Up Up And Away: If you compared first periods in the two home games this week, you wouldn't find a lot of similarities, especially in both the shot and goal categories. The Cats outshot the Leafs 19-4 on Tuesday but found themselves without anything to show for it. On Thursday, the Panthers were limited to just two shots but made the most of it as Scottie Upshall scored with 25.4 seconds to give the Cats the lead. Out of the penalty box after a slashing call, Upshall was behind the Wings defense and Tomas Kopecky found him after a blocked shot. Uppy put the puck in a perfect spot for a late period lead.
2. Great Stops Results In Lead Change: The Wings would tie the game 6:30 in as former Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson beat Tim Thomas on the power play. The visitors then took the lead about seven minutes later thanks to their goaltender, US Olympian Jimmy Howard. Both Jesse Winchester and Shawn Mattthias had amazing chances to regain the lead for the Cats but the Detroit netminder stoned them both from in close. The last rebound kicked out long to Gustav Nyquist who stormed down the side of the ice and fired a shot past Thomas for the lead. It was certainly a tough turn in events for the Cats.
3. Just Not Enough: Florida went into the third trailing by that 2-1 score despite being outshot 23-8 in the opening two periods. In the third, they turned up the pressure, playing the game they were capable of but Howard was strong in stopping each and every one of Florida's 16 chances. The Panthers had a golden chance late with Brian Lashoff in the box for cross checking with 2:26 remaining and with Thomas pulled for the extra attacker, had a 6-on-4 opportunity. Despite some close chances, Florida couldn't find the equalizer and Lashoff came out of the penalty box to put the game away with an empty netter. For Florida, it was a disappointing game after Tuesday's rousing victory over Toronto after they dominated the Leafs for the entire 60 minutes. Despite the loss, the Panthers still won the season series, winning three out of the five games (3-2-0).
Memorable twitter posts from the game.
@dlhbmonster: Well Panther you win some lose some you will get them next time #wholeteam did good. @FlaPanthers
@DIIRRRRKKKK: @FlaPanthers breaking my heart once again
@njcreative: @FlaPanthers great game!! To bad we lost :( pic.twitter.com/6Mvm4XwyIX
Memorable fan posts from the game.
Rosa Ruiz: I hope tomorrow will be better game. Let's go Cats.
Stephanie Akalski: For some reason that loss hurt worse than usual
James Alexander: Disappointed, lousy defensive effort tonight.
2. Picking up assists on Scottie Upshall's goal, both Tomas Kopecky and Mike Weaver now have assists in two straight games.
6. The Panthers penalty kill units were put to the test Thursday night and they killed off all but Daniel Alfredsson's power play tally, six in all.
5. Florida finished the game outhitting Detroit 27-17. Leading the way was defenseman Erik Gudbranson with a game-high five hits.
9. Upshall became the fifth Panthers to score double digit goals this season with his first period goal. 90% of them (nine) have come on home ice.
16. Florida had eight shots combined through the first two periods. They doubled that in the final 20 minutes.
Scored the game-winner in the second period but also had several other great chances to add to his goal total if not for the play of Tim Thomas.
The Panthers are right back at it on Friday night (7pm start) in their final game before the Olympic break. It will be the second meeting of the season series and the second game in Carolina as the Hurricanes edged the Panthers 3-2 back on Jan. 18th. The Canes are currently fifth in the Metropolitan division with 59 points (25-21-9). They're led offensively by the captain Eric Staal (44 points in 52 games) while Jeff Skinner leads the way with 23 goals. It's been a collective effort in goal as Justin Peters, Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin have all seen at least 18 games on the season.