AMTRAK ACELA EXPRESS TO NEW YORK CITY – Good morning from somewhere in Massachusetts. Boston would be in my rear view mirror, although these fast trains don't have mirrors so much as I can tell. I do know it's back there somewhere.
The Panthers returned to the scene of the crime for Wednesday's practice, taking to the Boston Garden ice before leaving for the Windy City – New York. ''Practice was uneventful,'' Pete DeBoer said. ''We're just moving forward.''
Thought that game was going to be a disaster early. The defense left Craig Anderson out to dry, but eventually he got things going and the Panthers looked to tie up the game at 2 in the second period. That never happened. Anderson got beat on a sweet deflection by fourth liner Byron Bitz to make it 3-1 and that was all she wrote.
Listen, the Panthers were due for a stinker and it may just turn out to be a good thing. They didn't lose much ground in the playoff dealio last night, so everyone can just relax. They get a good game in New York and all is well, once more, with the world.
-- Tomas Vokoun back in net Thursday against the Rangers. DeBoer says he doesn't blame Anderson for the first two goals last night, saying ''those were mental mistakes we made.'' He did say Anderson might have played better late in the game. ''The third, fourth goal. We need a save there.''
DeBoer says they haven't talked about what the goalie rotation for this weekend will be. Panthers play at New Jersey Saturday at 1, then Washington at 3 on Sunday. DeBoer did not rule out going with Vokoun in both.
''We're in playoff mode,'' he said. ''We're going to go with whatever guy we think can get us the win.''
-- Today's Florida Lynx:
* David J. Neal talks trade deadline.
* Panthers get beat by Red Sox 6-1 on Mike Lowell's seventh inning grand slam at Fenway
-- Planing on checking out Stan Van Gundy's Orland Magic tonight at the Garden. The Van Gundys stunk it up against the Bulls last night in O-Town, so we should see a pretty inspired bunch tonight. Should be fun. Haven't been to a Knickerbockers game in the Garden since hot dogs cost a nickel!
-- Good to see old buddy Cory Murphy pot a pair of goals last night in Calgary.
-- Tuesday's Scores (and how they affected the Panthers): Anaheim helped out the Floridians by winning 3-2 in Buffalo; Panthers and Bison still tied for seventh with 68 points. Ottawa helped keep Carolina down with a 4-2 win in Kanata. On the flip side, Philly moved two points away with a win over Washington, and Montreal got a big win at home over the Luongos.
-- Today's Games (and who the Panthers would be rooting for if they weren't all taking in Broadway shows tonight)
Kings @ Flyers, 7: Florida needs the Flyers to lose here or Philly picks up another two and leads by seven.
Sharks @ Wings, 7:30: No playoff implications here, but a darned good matchup. I like the Wings. You know this.
Rangers @ Leafs, 7:30: The Leafs are the Panthers of old, as in, an embattled coach loses to the Leafs and gets canned. Tom Renney's last game as coach of the Blueshirts came Sunday, an overtime loss to the Leaves. Tonight marks the debut of one John 'John' Tortorella behind the New Yawk bench. Panthers are a point behind the Rangers, so they should root on the Leafs. Not telling them what to do, just suggesting.
Isles @ Pens, 7:30: The Isles have 42 points, by far the fewest in the league. That said, the Panthers would like to see them get two more tonight. Penguins are four points back of the Cats. Florida would like to keep it that way.
The Standings (presented by Amtrak and Spam-a-Lot; courtesy of TSN.ca/nhl)
|3||New Jersey||60||38||19||3||79||182||151||19-10-1||19-9-2||6-4-0||Lost 1|
|6||NY Rangers||61||31||23||7||69||151||170||18-9-4||13-14-3||2-5-3||Lost 2|
|13||Tampa Bay||61||20||29||12||52||155||196||11-12-8||9-17-4||3-5-2||Lost 1|
|15||NY Islanders||59||18||35||6||42||144||198||12-13-4||6-22-2||3-6-1||Won 1|
|1||San Jose||58||41||8||9||91||200||140||26-2-3||15-6-6||5-1-4||Won 4|
|12||Los Angeles||59||26||24||9||61||157||171||13-13-8||13-11-1||5-3-2||Won 1|
|13||St. Louis||60||26||26||8||60||167||179||16-11-5||10-15-3||5-2-3||Won 1|