I will open this blog with the most important thing to take away from Game 1, HAMMER THE OVER!!
Now that I have that out of my system, I thought Game 1 lived up to all of the hype and made for great TV. The Missin Curfew Podcast boys said it best when they called it the “Sunshine Fuckfest” as I could not think of a better name for what I saw on the ice Sunday night.
Game 1 had a bit of everything: shorthanded goals, Huberdeau’s silky mitts, and lots of after-the-whistle action.
The stars for both teams showed up and the goaltending left a lot to be desired. Both goalies posted sub 0.900 SV% and Bobrovsky seemed unable to make the big save when the Cats needed him. For two guys making combined $18+ million per year, the score should not be that high. The Panthers scored 4 goals on one of the world’s best goalies yet still fell short because their own $10 million man gave up 5.
I am not being the typical Panthers fan and blaming the loss all on Bob, as how does the D let one of the most clutch playoff performers in Point get that wide open and score a game winning breakaway goal with 90 seconds left?
Also, it was announced yesterday that Florida Panther’s newly acquired stud, Sam Bennett, is suspended for Game 2 after boarding Blake Coleman in Sunday’s game. While the game was chippy and scrappy, I will say that Bennett may have crossed the line on this hit.
From the TV angle, it appeared as though he saw Coleman’s numbers the whole way and never checked up. I get it, playoff hockey is intense and the wires may have crossed, but you cannot give the Lightning this type of advantage.
A 1 game suspension is fair and I will not argue it, but I believe the NHL needs to make sure it is fair both ways. I get Tampa is the defending champs and a larger market with more household names, but how else will Huberdeau and Barkov become recognized in the world of hockey without a playoff run? Why does Bettman love Stammer, Hedman, and Kuch? Isn’t it better for the league to have all the teams compete for a Cup instead of the same usual suspects?
Additionally, the Panthers need to stay much more disciplined and out of the box for game 2 as the Lightning went 3 for 4 on the PP and show no signs of slowing down.
Even more, we haven’t talked about the real hero of Game 1 yet, the guy with the sign proudly proclaiming that he was “railing Fat Pat’s mom”. I give him a 10/10 as it was not expected from a Panthers fan and his move certainly got the internet buzzing about a team everyone seems to forget.
The players to watch for Game 2 may seem obvious but both Kucherov and Huberdeau got 3 points last game and seemed to be trying to one up the other’s highlight reel plays. Will either have a repeat performance? I expect big things from Hubby-dooby-doo and he seems to be playing like a man on a mission.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Patric Hörnqvist as he has made it clear he has his eyes on the Cup and will stop at nothing to get it. I love Horny’s style of play because he takes a beating in front of the net to make the play and is not afraid to throw the body around. Watch out for him to be a game changer on Tuesday night.
My final thought: if the Panthers want to win game 2, they need to tighten up their backend. And not in the typical South Florida way with a Brazilian butt lift, but by actually playing this thing called defense.
So in summary, let’s all hammer the over and tune in to tonight to watch the stars shine in Sunrise!