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Peeke's Points: 48 Hours Ago...

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Panthers Blogger Cliff Peeke
Cliff Peeke, a Panther season ticket holder since Day One, is back blogging on for another season, giving the point of view on the Cats from a serious, die-hard fan’s perspective.

A Michigan native who’s played hockey (admittedly average at best) most of his life, Cliff grew up watching Red Wings games at the old Olympia Stadium. His allegiance changed to the Panthers the moment it was announced South Florida would have a team.

Cliff has played in adult leagues at IncredibleIce and his oldest son (age 25) plays there as well. His youngest son (age 9) is a member of the Jr. Panthers ’98 Squirt Travel Team.

Peeke's Points Archive

48 hours ago, I was writing a lot of positive stuff about the Panthers and then we came up against a desperate, physical Lightning team and blew an opportunity to be in the 8th spot.

Should I worry… I think so and here’s why. Unless we string together a serious streak, catching Washington for the Division title seems unlikely, and that’s sad because that leaves us playing the “let’s try and make the 8th spot” game. This should require about 94 points or 47 points at the half-way mark (41 games). We have 6 games left to reach the halfway mark, and with 37 points, we need 10 points out of a possible 12, winning five of six. Based on the way we played against the Lightning, I’d say that’s impossible.

What the heck happened that we looked so outclassed by one of the weakest teams in the league? Do the Panthers actually think they can take nights off, shifts off, and still win games? Friday night’s home game was tough to watch. If not for two late goals, we played with vey little passion and intensity. And last night… that was a disaster from the first shift. Here I was talking about the “best one-two goalie tandem” just a few days ago, and then Vokoun goes ahead and “spots” the Lightning several goals in the two nights. I don’t expect shut-outs every night… but fans do want to see consistency and we saw none of that. Thankfully we do have a number two goalie in Anderson (or is he number one) that will once again be called on to right the ship as we go in to the final six game first-half stretch. No doubt, we have to have very good and consistent goaltending to be a playoff caliber team.

But overall, the team was over-matched in desperate, physical play against the Lightning and the results were not surprising. We’ve got a tough stretch ahead of us as we reach the half-way mark… Montreal, at NY Islanders, at Pittsburgh, at Montreal, at Toronto, Carolina. To be in the hunt and collect ten points is a huge task and all the more reason why fans wonder how we missed three points against the lowly Artyukhin-led Lightning.

So Monday night’s game against Montreal looms big… yet another must-win game. My guess is that we will know what the playoff potential is come January 9th. Let’s get two points Monday night. Teams above us are not losing (except Philadelphia but they have 45 points). We can’t allow separation now. We lost a golden opportunity and missed three points this weekend. We must be desperate the next six games… every shift.
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