Monday, January 29, 2007

Game #49 - vs Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers (19-22-10, 48 pts) at Pittsburgh Penguins (23-17-8, 54 pts)

The Pens are catching the Panthers at the wrong time. Florida has put together a two game win streak for the first time in the new year. They've also only lost twice in regulation since the day after Christmas. They're at the back of the playoff chase, and probably view this as their chance to get back into things. They don't have much more time, so they'll likely be desperate. The Pens have to match that desperation.

The Panthers have won both meetings with the Pens this year, in Pittsburgh on December 5th and in Florida on January 10th. Olli Jokinen has been an absolute Penguin killer so far, with four goals (5 points total) in two games. The Pens have to find a way to contain him. Having Fleury in net will be a good start. Thibault has played both games against the Kitty Cats this year. I can't see him playing a third straight.

Panthers blog - this is a cry for help. There are no decent independent Panthers blogs out there. Heck, when you search Google for "Florida Panthers blog", my earlier post lamenting the lack of blogs about the Panthers shows up on the first page! There's On Frozen Pond, which is a blog by a newspaper writer on the site of the Miami Herald. I've linked to it twice already. I'd rather stick to independent sources. There's Southeast Shootout, but their Panthers guy never seems to post. There are a few other, but nothing that's updated regularly or with any original content (one site just seems to show AP stories). It's strange how some teams have so much support and some teams just don't have any.

I'm looking for a spirited effort from the Pens, who will be looking to continue their roll. They'll have a hard time doing it against a hot Panthers team, but if they're willing to put in the effort, I think they can come out on top (beating on Jokinen would help too).

Let's Go Pens!

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