Game 3 Blog: FLA vs Jerks
This past Saturday saw the Florida Hoffmans...err...Panthers...got some redemption against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-3 win.
It was the Mike Hoffman show, as the 29-year old completed a hat-trick that helped power the Cats past the Lightning - helping snap a six-game losing streak to it's instate rival. It's time for Tallon to start working on an extension for this guy.
Our resident Hockey Buzz fan/friend, JimboCoppertone, was at the game and said the Panthers barn was electric and that the seats were packed with enthusiastic fans. This is great to hear and something they'll need tonight as they face the Carolina Hurricanes. More on that a bit later...
Outside of Hoffman's fantastic performance, I thought Bob was really solid (again) - especially in the third. Bob turned away 32 of 35 total shots on some very good looks from Tampa. I really think he will be the difference-maker for the Cats.
My favorite moment of the night belonged to Noel Acciari. I love this guy! This exactly why they got him...he lowers the boom, gets to the front of the net, uses his great hands (which a lot of folks don't realize he possesses) and gets rewarded. The whole play is fantastic. Props to Sceviour for taking a hit to make the pass to Acciari.
[Video from NHL.com]
Here's what I say to that...
Some good stats that jumped out at me for Florida was the Power Play (of course), which they went 2/3 on. I also liked seeing the Cats slightly edge the Lightning out in the hits department at 26-24. The faceoff percentage also improved slightly from last game (39%) to 44.8%. I'd like to see that number keep going up.
While the Panthers were outshot 35-28, they made up for it in the blocked shot category with a big 14 to Tampa's 5. I really love this stat because it shows the willingness of guys to sell out and help their goalie by taking one off the shin pads or body. The more shots you can suppress from getting to the net, the better!
The Panthers need to ride the momentum of Saturday's win into tonight's game against the Carolina Hurricanes who currently sit at 3-0-0.
The Jerks have done a good job of carrying over their solid play of last year into this season so far. Their wins have not come easy as each victory was decided by one goal and all were against teams that scored at least 96 points last year (MTL, WSH, TBL).
Carolina holds a slight advantage in a few key areas through this young season:
Power Play %
- Canes: 33.3
- Cats: 28.6
Penalty Kill %
- Canes: 84.6
- Cats: 75.0
- Canes: 51.0
- Cats: 41.9
Interesting to note that former Panther James Reimer has played one game so far for Carolina and is 1-0 with a 1.88 GAA. I would love to see him get the nod tonight, but we'll have to wait until the lineups are released...
There's some bad boys on this Hurricanes roster and they have certainly found some early success. I'm hoping Hurricanes expert and Hockey Buzz member, BINGO! will chime in to give us a little more depth into this Jerk squad and who to keep an eye on.
It would be nice to string together back-to-back wins here and hand the Canes their first loss. It should be a really fun game. I'm expecting (hoping) for a fast pace.
Puck drop at 7 ET.