Well, as has been said in many recaps already, this was a deja vu game. Just like back in October we were trailing 2-0 after two periods, we tied the game up with less than 5 minutes to go and won in overtime off of Sid’s stick; though last time it was in a shoot out instead of overtime. If you don’t believe me that Sid scored the winning goal, you can check out the excellent picture above. While you do that, you can admire the Panthers 3rd jerseys that look suspiciously like our third jerseys. Just saying.
Overall, though, we thoroughly outplayed Florida. We had more shots, more hits, less turnovers and less penalties. We absolutely deserved this game. However, as is the case a lot in hockey, the goalie is the great equalizer. In this case it was Tomas Vokoun. The guy stood on his head last night. He faced 45 shots and saved 42 of them. You just kind of have to tip your cap to that kind of night. You also have to feel fortunate facing that kind of performance and escaping with a ‘W’.
The story of the game (besides the eerie similarities to the first meeting) was the penalty call in overtime. In case you didn’t watch the game, there was a high sticking call in overtime that drew blood (so it was a 4 minute penalty. Pretty much the entire overtime). Neither of the referees saw it, but a linesman caught it. Therefore, at the next stoppage of play, the linesman alerted a referee and a penalty was called. This is highly unusual in hockey, but it’s in the rulebook as legal to do. I guess you don’t see it a lot because it takes a huge swallow of pride to admit you missed something, and it’s especially hard to do in overtime when you know you’ll take some heat for it, so kudos to the referees last night. It basically gave us the game, and I know a lot of people are upset about it, but the basic fact is that it’s a procedure call that a ref is forced to call if he sees, and it was the correct call. So there’s not much you can do about it.
Overall, I loved this game. You can really see that we’re starting to play better as more and more guys get back and get used to playing again. The one complaint I still have is that the power play is still only hovering around the 20% mark, and I think it should be a little bit higher with the talent we have. However, it’s improving with Sarge back. Also, we’re being much more physical around the net than we were at this time last year. So, overall I’m very pleased. I like this version of the team, and it’s good to start to see glimpses of it again.