Tonight the Florida Panthers come to town for the third of four regular season matches against the Penguins. Up until this point the Penguins hold a 2-0 series lead, but the Panthers managed to salvage a point in both of those outings. The first game back on October 23 ended in a 3-2 shootout win. Most recently, on November 23, the referees conspired to put the Penguins on the power play in overtime to ultimately beat the Panthers by the score of - yeah, 3-2.
I'm noticing a trend.
Of course the referees' involvement in Pittsburgh's win is entirely the theory proposed by tin-foil hat wearing Panthers fans who weren't afraid to make the claim after the Pens lit the lamp for the winner. Here's a quick refresher, in case the satisfaction of winning escapes you.
Last night the Panthers ended a four-game skid thanks to a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh's division rival, the New Jersey Devils. One of the best parts about this game, for me at least, was seeing Martin Brodeur lose to his former backup Scott Clemmensen. Last season, while Brodeur was recovering from surgery, Clemmensen posted an impressive 25-13-1 record over 40 games. Once Marty returned, the show was put on hold and eventually Clemmensen's solid season came to an end (along with the rest of the Devils) because Brodeur had trouble handling Carolina in the playoffs.
I suspect Clemmensen got the start last night in an effort to have Tomas Vokoun fresh for tonight's game against the Pens. Vokoun is 0-2-2 over his last five appearances, which also included a little seven day break following Keith Ballard's near decapitation attempt during the Atlanta game on November 30.
Other names you want to keep an eye on: Nathan Horton (8g, 19a), Stephen Weiss (13g, 13a) and Steven Reinprecht (10g, 14a).
12 - that's the number of games Florida has taken past regulation. In OT the Panthers are 1-1. In shootouts, 5-5.
Puck and thread drop at 7:30. Come on by and hang out a bit.