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Weiss Records First Career Hat Trick in Cats 7-3 Win Over Capitals

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Bouwmeester Scores Two Goals, Two Assists

Jesse Agler's Post-Game Report:

The period began with a new Washington goalie, the evening ended with a little bit of history. Cats demolished Washington by a final score 7-3.
Stephen Weiss recorded his first career hat trick, Jay Bouwmeester had two goals and two assists on the day when he was named to the All-Star Game, and the Cats recorded more shots than they ever had in a home game. Game number 999 in Panther history ended about as well as any before and the Cats are now 7-3-3 in their last 13 games. Next up, the Carolina Hurricanes in a bit
of a revenge game--though the Cats have obviously shown that the tough loss last time out didn't bother them too much. We'll be on the air at 7 Tuesday night with Panther Preview, puck drops at 7:30. See you then!


Jesse Agler's 2nd Intermission Report:

Cats began the period with 1:10 left on a power play and had a couple of chances, but were unable to push one through. Almost right after the penalty expired, though, Rostislav Olesz hit the post and left Jozef Stumpel with a rebound and a wide-open net, but he was unable to control the puck and an opportunity went by the wayside. Soon after, another power play chance for the Cats, as big Donald Brashear was called for tripping, picking up his 105th and 106th penalty minutes of the season (for comparative purposes, the Cats' leading PIM man, Steve Montador has just 74). Regardless, Washington killed the penalty off, though Florida continues to throw a lot of rubber at Olie the goalie.

As for the defensive domination by the Panthers, the Capitals did not take their first shot on goal of this period until about nine minutes into the period--and it was only their sixth shot of the entire game. Still, though, a two goal lead, obviously, can quickly become just a one goal lead (Moller Math!). None of those six shots, at this point, by the way, have been taken by the super-dangerous Alex Ovechkin. Shutting out the super-sophomores not a new thing for the Cats, either--in their last home game against Pittsburgh, Sidney Crosby took just two shots all game, both of which were in the first period.

The stout D did not last forever, though, as the ninth shot of the night for the Caps was stuffed between the legs of Ed Belfour by the other Alex, Alexander Semin, for his 25th goal of the year--he now has a five game goal streak and we have a one goal game.

After the Washington flurry, the Cats came back with a couple of chances of their own. Stephen Weiss had a semi-breakaway and was stopped by a very nice glove save by Kolzig. Moments later, though, Weiss, Ville Peltonen, and David Booth combined to fire away at Kolzig and Weiss found the rebound at his feet and fired it home to re-extend the lead: 3-1 with just about six minutes left in the second period.

Off the air, Craig and I were discussing how nice it is to watch a game with so few penalties called. Almost on cue, Alexander Semin is hit for interference, giving the Cats their third power play of the game. Panthers set up with just one point man, and when Olli Jokinen set up Rostislav Olesz in the slot, Olesz did not miss, going top shelf for his eighth goal of the year, and more importantly, extending the Panther lead to 4-1.

Panthers kept the momentum going, as Bouwmeester fired off a fierce slapshot from just inside the line and it had eyes, getting past a Greg Campbell screen. On the assists, Kamil Kreps gets his first NHL point and the lead, after two periods, is 5-1. Just for fun: the 27 shots taken by the Cats in the second--the most they've taken in one period all year, and just one shot shy of the franchise record. That record, set last season, against...the Washington Capitals.

Let's get ready for the Cats to finish this one out, I'll be back after the game with what is hopefully some more good news.


Jesse Agler's 1st Intermission Report:

Caps and Cats have played 20 minutes and, much like the start to the game at Carolina, a very solid 20 for the Panthers. Not only did they out-shoot and out-score Washington in the first period, they dominated the play on the ice in every possible way.

The scoring started just 95 seconds into the game, when Jay Bouwmeester, who today was named to the Eastern Conference All Star team, broke in to the zone and snagged a loose puck, then fired it right past Olie Kolzig for the first goal of the night, his seventh of the season. Cats kept getting chances, but not goals--until the 12:46 mark, when Chris Gratton knocked home a third attempt from point blank range for his seventh. This goal really felt huge, as a one goal lead headed into the break after such a dominant period wouldn't have felt too great.

And so, nothing but smiles so far with a 2-0 lead. As for the shots 14 for Florida and just five for the team from DC. Of course, the way Thursday night's game went at Carolina, no lead will feel safe until the final horn sounds at the end of the game. I'll be back after the second and hopefully will be able to tell you about a couple of more Panther goals. Enjoy the middle-20!


Jesse Agler's pre-game-blog:

Tonight, for the second straight home game, the Cats welcome one of the true young stars of the NHL to Bank Atlantic Center, as Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals step into town. The Panthers had little trouble disposing of Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on Wednesday night, holding the Kid without a goal, and beating his team 5-2. Tonight, a challenge just as
important--if not more so. Divisional standing is on the line--entering tonight's game, the Panthers are just four points in back of the Caps for fourth place in the Southeast and Washington is one of a large handful of teams that presently stands between the Panthers and a possible playoff

In addition to all of that, the Cats will be trying to rebound from one of the toughest losses in franchise history. Thursday night in Carolina,
Florida had a 3-0 lead headed into the third period and left Raleigh with a 6-4 loss. You know that the Panthers will be trying to avenge those troubles tonight. Washington, like the Panthers, coming off a tough loss Thursday night. Caps were over on the left side of the state to play the Lightning and flew east after suffering a 5-4 loss.

So its Alex and the Caps versus the Panthers tonight--should be a ton of fun, especially on a Saturday. Radio coverage tonight begins at 6 with
Panthers Weekend Edition, Panther Preview Driven by JM Lexus is at 7, and the puck will drop at 730. Goldie will be over on TV tonight, so it'll be Craig Minervini on radio with Moller and myself. Hope to see you at the arena, enjoy the game, and I'll be back after the first period with more!


Tonight's Game Notes:

COUNTDOWN TO 1000 GAMES: The Florida Panthers franchise is about to embark on a major milestone. On Jan. 16 the Panthers will play host to the Carolina Hurricanes in what will be the Florida franchise's 1000th game. The Cats became an organization in time for the 1993-94 season. Florida's first ever game was played on Oct. 6, 1993 at Chicago Stadium against the Blackhawks. The Panthers and Hawks skated to a 4-4 tie that day. Just three days later, on Oct. 9, 1993, Florida won its first game, defeated Tampa Bay 2-0 at the Thunderdome in St. Petersburg. Florida's first home game was Oct. 19, 1993, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Panthers overall franchise record through 998 games, stands at 375-427-142-54.

PICKING UP POINTS: The Panthers have been consistently picking up points over the last few weeks. Florida has picked up 15 points in the last 12 games, with a record of 6-3-3. During the month of December, the Panthers picked up 16 points in 14 games going 7-5-2 in the last month of 2006.

CAPTAIN LEADING THE WAY: Panthers captain C Olli Jokinen extended his point streak to five games Thursday night in Carolina with two goals. The Cats capitan now has five goals in his last two games. Jokinen now has 21 goals on the season and leads the team with 48 points (21-27-48). The two-point performace Thursday night marked Jokinen's 15th multi-point game this season and sixth multi-point game in the Panthers last 12 games, a stretch in which Florida is 6-3-3. In his last 15 games, Jokinen has eight goals and 11 assists with a rating of +6. The Panthers leader scored his 150th career goal on Dec. 23 against Carolina and recorded his 300th point as a Panther on Jan. 7 in Vancouver.

Olli's Hat-trick: Wednesday night against Pittsburgh, Jokinen recorded his second hat trick of the season and third of his career.

League Leader: Jokinen's 48 points on the season is the 17th highest total in the NHL. The 215 shots Jokinen has put on goal this season are is the second highest total in the league. The Kuopio, Finaldn native has four GWG on the season which is among the NHL's best and his 21 goals rank him in the Top-20 in the NHL..

PENALTY KILLING: Over the last 12 games Florida's Penalty Killing has been a key factor in the team's success. Florida has killed off 68 of 76 shorthanded situations in the last 12 games including holding the No. 1 power play unit at the time, Montreal, to 0-4 on Dec. 29 and the No. 5 unit, Toronto to 0-6 on Dec. 19.

Florida's penalty killing success of late has moved their season kill percentage to 83.5% (217-260 killed), which is ranked 11th best in the NHL and above the NHL average of 82.5%.

Dec. 16 @ Boston (W 6-3) 1-7 85.7%

Dec. 19 @ Toronto (W 7-3) 0-6 100%

Dec. 21 vs. NY Rangers (W 3-2) 1-9 88.8%

Dec. 23 vs. Carolina (L 2-3 OT) 1-4 75.0%

Dec. 26 @ Carolina (L 2-4) 1-5 80.0%

Dec. 27 vs. Philadelphia (W 3-1) 1-8 87.5%

Dec. 29 vs. Montreal (W 3-1) 0-4 100%

Jan. 2 @ Edmonton (L 1-4) 1-5 80.0%

Jan. 4 @ Calgary (L 4-5 OT) 0-4 100%

Jan. 7 @ Vancouver (L 3-4 SO) 1-5 80.0%

Jan. 10 vs. Pittsburgh (W 5-2) 0-4 100%

Jan. 11 @ Carolina (L 4-6) 1-5 80.0%

8-76 89.5%

ONE OF THE NHL's BEST POWER PLAY'S: Florida is 38-of-200 (19.0%) with the man advantage, good enough for seventh best in the NHL. Cats C Jozef Stumpel is racking up the points on the power play this season. Stumpel now has 18 power play points (5-13-18). C Olli Jokinen has 14 power play points (7-7-14). Also, the Cats C Stephen Weiss has scored five PPG and five PP assists this season. D Ruslan Salei leads all Cats defensemen with 14 PP points (1-13-14).

CLOSE GAMES: The Panthers have played 45 games this season, and 32 of them have been decided by 2 goals or less. Almost half of the Panthers first 46 games have been decided by one goal. In all 19 games have been decided by one goal with the Cats going 5-5-9 in those games.

DIFFERENT GOAL SCORERS: 11 different Panthers have scored a goal in the last seven Cats games. Six different Panthers scored goals during the Cats brief two-game winning streak to end the 2006 calender year. LW Rostislav Olesz, C Jozef Stumpel and D Mike Van Ryn scored goals Dec. 27 against Philadelphia in the Panthers 3-1 win. On Dec. 29, LW Ville Peltonen, RW Nathan Horton and LW Gregory Campbell all scored in the panthers 3-1 win over Montreal. In Edmonton on Jan. 2, C Olli Jokinen scored for the Cats and Thursday night in Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester joined the scoring party, and LW David Booth recorded his first NHL goal. Wednesday night against Pittsburgh, LW Martin Gelinas joined the scoring party, picking up his fourth goal of the season and Thursday night RW Juraj Kolnik scored the first Panthers goal at Carolina.

Spreading the Points Around Too: Against the Canadiens on Dec. 28, nine different Panthers recorded a point with three different goal scorers and six different players recieving a point for an assist. Overall, 12 different Panthers players have recorded at least one point in the previous the final two games of 2006.

SHUTOUT: With his next shutout, G Ed Belfour will tie Tony Esposito for eighth on the All-time shutout list with 76 career shutouts.

COMFORTABLE AT HOME: Cats C Olli Jokinen is is tied for seventh in the entire NHL in points scored at home. Jokinen has 31 points in 21 games played at the BankAtlantic Center this season (16-15-31).

PANTHERS GAIN POINTS WHEN OLESZ SCORES: Panthers LW Rostislav Olesz has scored in six different games this season and has seven total goals. In all six games in which he has scored, the Panthers have picked up at least one point. Overall, Florida is 5-0-1 in games which Olesz scores. The Panthers first round pick in the 2004 draft scored two goals Jan. 4 in Calgary. Olesz scored a point in four consecutive games from Dec. 14 - 21 and scored a goal in all three games during the Cats three-game win streak that week.

WELCOME TO THE NHL: Many players from the Rochester Americans (AHL) have made the trip from Rochester, NY to South Florida. In all, seven players from Rochester have been called up this season. C David Booth made his NHL debut Nov. 20 at Boston. He has played 11 games wiith the Cats, recording one goal and three assists. C Drew Larman has been called up three times, the most recent on Nov. 30. at Ottawa. Larman made his NHL debut Nov. 13 against Washington and scored his first career NHL goal on Nov. 24 against Ottawa. He added his second goal Dec. 12 at Anaheim. C Greg Jacina was called up during November and C Rob Globke was called up Nov. 28. C Janis Sprukts was the first Rochester call-up this season in October. He has been called up three times this season. RW Anthony Stewart became the sixth Amerks players to suit up from the Panthers this season when he was called up in December. He has been recalled twice. On Jan. 6, Florida called up C Kamil Kreps. He is the seventh Rochester player to wear a Panthers jersey this season and he becomes the fourth different prospect to make his NHL debut with Florida this season.

ROOKIE FITTING IN: Panthers LW David Booth scored his first NHL goal on Jan. 4 in Calgary. Booth has now played in 14 games with the Panthers, recording one goal and three assists. The Michigan State graduate is averaging over 10:00 of ice time per game and was moved up to the third line in Calgary due to injuries. Booth made his NHL debut Nov. 20 in Boston, a game in which Florida won 3-2. The Detroit, Michigan native is on his third call-up with Florida and has been with the team since Dec. 27.

STUMPEL'S STREAK - Cats C Jozef Stumpel recorded a five-game point streak from Dec. 10 - Dec. 19. Stumpel had 11 points (3-8-11) in those five games during his streak including back-to-back four point nights at Boston (2-2-4) on Dec. 16 and Toronto (0-4-4)Dec. 19.

Elite Company - Jozef Stumpel now joins Atlanta's Marian Hossa and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby as the only two other players this season who have recorded back-to-back four point games.
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