The Comeback Cats Strike Again

First of all, I do not care that it was a Tuesday night and the Cats were down 4-1 going in to the 3rd period. It is pure nonsense leaving the game during the 2nd intermission. Whoever left did not deserve to see the Miracle in Sunrise!

For me, the craziest part of the game was that even though the Panthers were down 4-1, they never really looked out of it. Sure, it looked like a difficult hill to climb, but they never looked defeated or like they were just getting spanked.

Washington had a few lucky bounces including a rebound goal where they were able to pinball the puck off of the back of Bob’s leg (or butt couldn’t tell for certain) and in to the net. But Bob played outstanding in my opinion. Between a few bad bounces and the Cats defense not helping him out, the stats do not reflect his actual game play.

It is weird saying that a goalie played well when they give up 4 goals on 27 shots; however, Bob hung tough making critical saves to allow the Panthers a chance to claw their way back in. This is where I hate the analytics side of the game because his stats Tuesday night were .855 SV% and 4 GAA last night, yet he is the only reason the Panthers made their comeback.

Side rant, while I am sure analytics have value, a lot of people are missing out on the eyeball test. Are Bobrovsky’s numbers from last night below average? Yes! Do the stats account for how many times he was screened or left without any help? No!

One area that the Caps seemed to expose was the Panthers defensive zone coverage. It looked like a lot of guys didn’t cover, or maybe know, their man and left the Caps free to move around the zone.

On the first goal that was bounced off of Bob by McMichael, the Panthers had 4 guys that seemed to be just standing around. Why was nobody going for the puck? Or taking down McMichael? They let him just sit there with the puck behind the net and attempt to bounce it off Bob twice.

And who was covering Malenstyn on the 2nd goal? Why was he so wide open? Find your man!  

Another concern that I have reiterated over and over again for the Cats is the physical play. Lomberg is tough, Horny doesn’t back down, Franky V can hang; however, the Panthers do not have someone who can compete with a heavy weight like Wilson.

Yes, Tom Wilson is a total clown and a want-to-be tough guy in my opinion. He picks on teams who do not have someone who will give him a good tilly. Tuesday night he was testing his luck with Huberdeau. Last Friday night he ran Bob after scoring a goal. That alone should have the Cats sending someone after him for an automatic donnybrook. But nope, that Neanderthal just roamed around freely doing dumbdick, caveman like things.

So, I pose this question to the fans, who do the Panthers have that could answer the bell? Someone should have grabbed Wilson and said “no, you are done and now you are going to have to take a few fists to the face”.

Why do you think the Rangers got Reaves? Why doesn’t he pull this with the Islanders? Because he is terrified of Reaves and Matt Martin. He is a bully when he can be and he has shown he will do it against the Panthers because he is not held accountable by anyone on our squad.

Yes, the days of the fighter and teams having an enforcer are not what they were 15 years ago, but I still think there is a place for the big fella in the league. Would Wilson run Bob or mess with Huby if we had Reaves or Lucic? Hell no!

And I am not talking shit about the Panthers or any of our players. I love the team and I love what Zito has put together here. I just think this is the one missing piece that they would need to get over the hump.

The Lightning realized they were missing grit and toughness after a few disappointing playoff runs and they went out and got Pat Maroon. You don’t see anyone taking liberties with the Bolts star players, right? There is a reason for that. It is because they would have to be held accountable for their actions!

PS: it must be absolute comedy gold seeing Maroon and Perry on the ice together. I would pay the extra few bucks a month for PPV or HBO to cover the games and just mic up those two clowns.

Ideally, the Panthers would go after Lucic since he has shown that he is willing to waive his NMC; however, with the way the Flames are playing, I feel as though they are looking to add before the deadline and not sell.

Who else would be on the market that could fill that role? It is a tough question and one I think Zito needs to address moving forward.

For Capitals fans, they should be concerned with the meltdown of Ilya Samsonov in the 3rd period. Going in to this game he was 9-0-1 with a 2.27 GAA, .918 SV%, and 3 shutouts on the year. Sure his numbers were better than Bob’s as he posted a .905 SV% stopping 46/51 shots, but he choked in the 3rd and missed a few stoppable pucks or left out a juicy rebound for the Cats to capitalize on. Not to take anything away from him as Samsonov has been a very good goalie for a team that is no longer playing the Barry Trotz style of defense.

All I am saying is that in the 3rd period, he seemed frustrated after giving up the goal to make it 4-3 and when he reached in to launch the puck out of the net, I knew the comeback was going to happen. I even live bet on the Hard Rock app for +250 (love it, please don’t screw this up for me Florida).

I am not saying all of the goals were his fault as Bennett had a beauty of a tip; however, the GWG from Reinhart was very stoppable and it just looked like Samsonov was out of position and lost where he was in his net.

On a final note, two guys who have really impressed me so far this season have been Ryan Lomberg and Eetu Luostarinen.

While Lomberg is not the biggest guy, standing at 5’9” and 187 lbs., he has shown that he will stand up for his teammates, works hard, and does anything the team asks of him. He had a goal and set up the tying goal on the PK against the Capitals. He knows his role within the team and is impressing the shit out of me.

Luostarinen has been playing great hockey and at 23 years old is on the way to carving out a nice future with the team. He scored the breakaway shorthanded goal that tied the game Tuesday night and has overall been a great success story. I definitely think we won that trade with Carolina for Trochek by acquiring this kid!

Tonight, the Panthers should pound the Sabres at home. I am predicting a 5-1 game. Definitely taking the Cats both puck and money line. Download the Hard Rock Sportsbook app and follow along!

As always Cats fans, in Zito we trust!

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