Great news fans and friends, the Panthers survived PK and his slew footing tendencies! So that is a victory in itself. The guy is one of the most low-key dirty hockey players in the league, having 4 very controversial slew foots that have injured at least 2 players this season.
But enough about the Slewbanattor, let’s talk about the beat down that the Panthers just dished out in Spencer Knight’s revenge game!
To be honest, it was not the domination or ass beating that the scoreboard may have lead you to believe. The Panthers were outshot the first period 22 to 13 and if it were not for the stellar play of Spencer Knight could have easily exited the period down by 2-3 goals.
Dougie (what grown man goes by Dougie?) Hamilton got lucky and bounced one off of Knight’s shoulder and in to the net with just over 6 minutes remaining in the first period to give the Devils the lead. This would be the only blemish on Knight’s very impressive game.
The Devils looked to be in control and the Cats were not able to get the pressure or really do much of anything that first period until Swaggy Verhaeghe broke loose and sniped one off the outside post and in to tie the game with 6 seconds remaining. He was able to streak up the left wing and bury it past Blackwood to tie things up before the period ended.
This would be the boost that would change the game for the Panthers as they came out and dominated for the remaining two periods.
The Panthers would score again just over the 3 minute mark in the 2nd period and then take off running.
Hornqvist would win a battle in the corner and get the puck to the front where Luostarinen was able to free himself from the defense and bury it under Blackwoods 5-hole for his 6th goal of the year.
Then just a minute and seventeen seconds later, Huberdeau would toe the blue line and bury one past Blackwood to make it 3-1 for the good guys. I do not fully understand the new offside rule and I thought, like Goldie and the rest of the Bally Sports announcers, that Huby’s goal would be called back for offsides. However, much to our shock, it stood and the Panthers were up by 2.
Of course this line was not done scoring as just 3 minutes later Huby would set up Duclair who dangled around Blackwood to bury the biscuit. Duke’s little juke in front of the net has to be one of the nastiest moves as he has a tendency to beat quite a few goalies with it.
The Panthers were able to score 4 unanswered goals in just 8:20 of total game time and this would chase Mackenzie Blackwood from the net. Bernier would come in and stop the remaining 14 shots from the Panthers; however, the Devils night was over and the Cats easily cruised to a 4-1 victory.
Key Facts and Interesting Takeaways from the Game:
The Panthers are the 5th team in NHL history to score 4+ goals in each of their first 9+ home games. The other teams to do so are Philadelphia (11 GP in 1992-93), Edmonton (10 GP in 1983-84), Chicago (9 GP in 1987-88), and Boston (9 GP in 1983-84).
Spencer Knight established a franchise record for most saves in a game by a rookie with 45 saves, beating the previous record of 44 saves previous held by Jacob Markstrom from March of 2013.
The Panthers are getting scoring from up and down their lineup. The 4th line of Horny, Lomby, and Luostarinen had 2 goals against the Islanders and notched another one against the Devils. The depth of scoring will prove important for the Cats come playoff time.
Jonathan Huberdeau was able to rise to the occasion with the Panther captain, Sasha Barkov, out on a week-to-week basis, Huby was able to snipe in one goal and set up Duke for an apple. The team is elevating its play and using the next man up mentality to win games.
Spencer Knight was able to rebound after the rough outing in New Jersey and was the first star in last night’s game. To stop 45 of 46 shots and basically win the game for the Panthers in the first period, it says a lot to the quality of tendy Knight really is. Had it not been for his critical saves, the Cats could have easily been down 2-3 goals off the hop. But Knight held strong and kept it close allowing Swaggy to tie the game late in the first.
A final and critical takeaway from this game is that this is one of the few games PK Subban did not slew foot or injure someone. Good for you PK!
The Panthers are home Saturday against Kirill the Thrill and the rest of the Minnesota Wild. Hopefully they can hang tough and keep on the W train.
Let’s go Cats! In Zito we trust!