Goldie's post-game recap:
Gary Roberts and Ed Belfour put on a show back in Toronto. Both played for the Leafs in recent years and back here at Air Canada Center they haunted the old team. Belfour stopped 33 shots and Roberts scored twice in a big 7-3 Panther win. It was the 2nd straight road win, the 1st time the Panthers have accomplished the feat this season. They have scored 13 goals in those 2 games and Ed Belfour has both wins. Other big nights include:
A goal and assist for Ville Peltonen and Joel Kwiatkowski goals for Rostislav Olesz, Nathan Horton and Martin Gelinas. 2 assists for Olli Jokinen 4 assists for Jozef Stumpel.
The 4 helpers tie a career high for Stumpel and it was his 2nd straight 4 point game. In his last 5 games Stumpel has 3 goals and 8 assists. He is on a roll right now centering Peltonen and Olesz who have scored in their last 2 games.
The Cats come home for the Rangers Thursday and Carolina Saturday. It's a huge opportunity to jump right into the thick of the playoff race. It's good to see the team rewarded with some wins becuase they have played well enough to win over the past 3 weeks and suffered a number of one goal losses. The Panthers are now getting efforts from players like Stumpel and Jokinen, players that need to come up big for the team to be successful.
Goldie's 2nd Intermission blog:
The Panthers continue the onslaught on the Maple Leafs. After scoring 3 times in late in the 1st period the Cats never let Toronto get back in the game. A steal and a bullet of a shot by Gary Roberts 28 seconds into the 2nd period made it 4-1. Roberts has 2 goals tonight. The Panthers then cashed in twice on the power play, both goals coming from shots by Joel Kwiatkowski. His 1st shot was deflected in by Martin Gelinas, his 2nd shot went in on its own. It's the best 40 minutes the Panthers have played this year and they are on their way to consecutive road wins for the 1st time this season. Domination is the name of this game and the Panthers have the fans booing the Leafs.
Goldie's 1st Intermission blog:
The Panthers gave a new meaning to the phrase "Final Four" in the 1st period in Toronto. The Cats scored 3 goals in the last 4 minutes of the period to take a 3-1 lead to the locker room. The final 2 goals came in the last minute, the 1st on a Gary Roberts deflection in front on a shot by Mike Van Ryn. Then with 6 seconds to go Ville Peltonen stole the puck from Hal Gill at the Leafs blue line and went in all alone. Peltonen made a great move to the backhand to score with 6 seconds left. Rostislav Olesz banged one home for the 1st goal that tied the game. For Olesz and Peltonen it's 2 straight games with goals, while Stumpel extends his point streak to 5 games with an assist. Ed Belfour made 2 super saves in the period as well.
Goldie's Pregame Blog:
It's the end of a week long road trip tonight here in Toronto. It's feast or famine for the Panthers. A win tonight and the trip is a success with 2 wins in 3 games. The 1 loss was a 2-1 decision at Buffalo, a game that saw the Cats more than double the Sabres in shots and dominate 5 on 5. A loss to the Leafs and it's back to square 1. The Panthers need to string together a streak and do it soon. Including tonight, 4 of the next 6 games are at the BankAtlantic Center against teams that the Cats have gotten points against this season. Ed Belfour is hot in goal so Jacques Martin will stick with him. Belfour beat the Leafs in Sunrise last month and has been solid so far on the trip. It will be the first time this season he will get 3 starts in a row.
The last time we were here Alex Auld singlehandedly got the Panthers a point with 47 saves. Toronto won the shootout. It'll be interesting to see if the line of Stumpel, Olesz and Peltonen can keep the magic going. The trio was outstanding against Boston scoring 4 of the team's 6 goals. Stumpel had a season high 4 point game, 2 goals and 2 assists. It's always special to be North of the border where they live, eat and sleep hockey. The Panthers usually play well here and they will need to tonight against the Leafs who come in with confidence following a 9 goal outburst Saturday agaimst the Rangers. Kyle Wellwood had a hat trick and 2 assists in the game and he has been a major factor against the Panthers.