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Panthers Win: Florida 5, Lightning 2 ... Gregory Campbell to Make Canadian Trip (Shocking!) ... Clemm Didn't See Allen's Swing



Desperate to get some offense going, Panthers coach Pete DeBoer changed up his first line after they played together for just parts of two games.

The switch didn't work Saturday against Buffalo, but Sunday afternoon, DeBoer's tinkering paid off as the Panthers scored three goals in the opening period and rolled past Tampa Bay 5-2 at BankAtlantic Center.

Florida's new top line of Stephen Weiss, Cory Stillman and Nathan Horton accounted for two of the Panthers first three goals. Meanwhile, David Booth – dropped to the second line – scored his second goal in three games to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish.

Booth, Weiss and Horton were Florida's top line at the start of the season, but because of injuries to Booth (45 games) and Horton (17) the trio hadn't played together save for the first nine games. During the second period of Saturday's game, DeBoer changed things up again.

“We're just trying to get something going,'' DeBoer said after the Panthers snapped their three game losing streak by beating the Lightning for the third time in four tries this season. “Booth, we wanted to get some speed with [Steven] Reinprecht, so we moved him down. You're going to see that until we start getting some consistent offense. We did that [Sunday]. I hope it carries over.''

DeBoer also changed up his goaltender on Sunday, going with backup Scott Clemmensen as expected. DeBoer pulled Tomas Vokoun early in the second period of Saturday's loss to the Sabres, and Clemmensen played well in relief.

Sunday, Clemmensen was the victim of a bad Bryan Allen pass as Tampa Bay's Steve Downie intercepted the puck at the blue line and walked in on Clemmensen uncontested. Allen responded by smashing his stick on the goal cage.

The Panthers haven't released their frustration in that way since Keith Ballard went to smash the cage on Nov. 30 in Atlanta and hit Vokoun in the head instead.

“I didn't even see that,'' Clemmensen said with a laugh. “But you know what? I was mad at giving up the goal. Mistakes happen. As a goalie, I really wanted to make the save for Allen. I had a great read too. I knew he was shooting high-glove. And he beat me there anyway.''

Florida's Nick Tarnasky and Zenon Konopka fought twice in the opening period – with Konopka taking an instigator and game misconduct in the second bout. Florida tied the game on Horton's long shot (which struck Steven Stamkos' stick before beating Mike Smith) on the ensuing power play.

Less than five minutes later, Booth gave Florida its first lead after knocking in a shot from Byron Bitz. Just 46 seconds later, Stillman backhanded a shot to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.

Clemmensen held the Lightning in check until Stamkos scored on a power play early in the third period. The Panthers bounced right back with Allen threading a pass to Weiss – who turned it into his 100th career NHL goal.

More importantly, it gave the Panthers much needed breathing room against a Lightning team without much fight left. Tampa Bay has lost seven of eight and slipped behind Florida in the standings.

“Those are key momentum shifts,'' said Weiss. “It's important for us not to sag when they score when they cut it one, then get one right away kind of takes the wind out their sails. Soon we get the fifth and the game is over.''


Tarnasky was back in the lineup after Gregory Campbell was forced to sit out after injuring his foot or possibly his ankle after being struck by a puck on Saturday. Campbell took a hard shot off the skate and limped off the ice, returning a few shifts later. Campbell ended up skating 20 shifts in 12 minutes.

“He's going to make the trip with us and we'll see what his pain tolerance is,'' said DeBoer, adding that Campbell was going to be re-examined Monday.

-- The Panthers power play was 1-for-5 on Sunday as DeBoer went with four forwards and a defenseman for the first time. Florida's top power play unit was Booth, Horton, Stillman, Weiss and defenseman Bryan McCabe. They were on the ice for Florida's lone power play goal.

Florida's power play definitely needed the juice. The Panthers came into the game ranked last in the league. The Panthers have converted on 42 of 276 chances (15 percent).

“It made a difference, with Horton back in the lineup,'' said DeBoer. “We talked about it for a while, but couldn't do it with Horton out. We thought it might open some things up. It makes a big difference for the power play.''

-- Sunday's win was Florida's 15th at home this season, keeping it tied with Boston and the Rangers for fewest in the Eastern Conference.


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I hope for a better draft pick.

Who cares about Campbell. He stinks anyway. Why does DeBore like this guy? He and Kreps and Olesz and Stillman and Reinprecht and some others need to go!!!!

don't look now but both Tampa and Carolina could be drafting ahead of the panthers.

The Panthers went from the 3rd pick to the 6th after the win. Oh, yeah, and Boston won so the gap is still seven points. The Panthers now have only eleven games to make it up. Does anyone think they'll win out? They'll be lucky to go .500 on their last 11 games and if they did, Boston would only have to win two of their games. Oh yeah, and if they pull off the impossible the reward is an utter annihilation by Washington in the first round.

I know, I just can't find any excitment in these meaningless wins. Now we're letting our division rivals, who already have franchise guys in Staal and Stamkos, draft ahead of us. Big difference between 3 and 6 too. Oh this team can't win enough to make the playoffs and it can't lose enough to get a potential franchise player (Hall/Seguin). Sigh.

....don't fret! This was the start of the 8-9 game winning streak that we are due for every March. We'll get w/in 2 points of 8th and everyone will pat the others back for valiant effort in the end. Our UFAs will all get healthy contracts so we will see Kreps and Soupy for the next 6 years. Sexton will keep his job and we'll get our 'middle of the pile' 1st round pick that we'll trade away for 2 Eastern European propects that our scouting team pegged as a young Jagr and blah blah..THEN, Season Seat Holders will drop (like mine). There will be a mad rush to sustain salaries and we will all be offered free round trip tickets on Jet Blue to re-sign. The Den of Honor will be downsized so they can rename it the "Rip-It Energy Drink Den of Honor" and have room for fridges full of it. Goldie will be the sole announcer since he will be the only one here all summer and Stanley C. Panther will be renamed Stanley "Celcius" Panther.

I keep hoping for the Cats to tank out a bit now. Looking at the schedule that remains it is still possible to finish 2nd last:

Tue Mar 23 Maple Leafs - Playing well and loss could put them closer to passing us.
Thu Mar 25 Canadiens - We dont play them well
Sat Mar 27 Senators - Playing VERY well
Mon Mar 29 Predators - Playing very well
Wed Mar 31 Sabres - Beat us last time
Thu Apr 1 Bruins - Fighting for playoffs
Sat Apr 3 Rangers - See previous
Tue Apr 6 Senators - See previous Sens comment
Thu Apr 8 Devils - We dont play them well
Sat Apr 10 Lightning
Sun Apr 11 Lightning

We could lose 9 of the last 12, or more. So it is possible we drop to pick #2.

These wins are actually hurting us, ya know? We want a better draft pick!

Draft picks don't matter with this team. Look at the past - Horton over Richards, Olesz, Bouwmeester over Nash.
It's like one of the old Panthers who returned for the Den of Honor said, 'How can anyone, including the players, take this team seriously when Yormark is the guy ultimately in charge? He said a few of the players were horrified last year when they learned the team logo was being used in the urinals.
He said the players realized then yormark was nothing but a used car salesman, strutting around for his own self preservation.

The farther you fall, the better odds of winning the draft lottery. You don't have to finish dead last to get the first pick.

bill---Curious minds want to know: who said that about Yormack? Give us a hint

Horton over Staal as well as about 10 other guys that are better pros. don't forget the trading of the number to San Jose for Viktor Koslov,
or the trading of 3 draft picks for Vokoun or the 3rd to Toronto for a player that didn't even show up.

Only one 2nd round pick worth his weight (Booth),

poor drafting, poor trades and poor free agent signings equals the Florida Panthers and that means keeping the GM and scouts when we win 7 out of the remaining 11, (can't win more than 3 in a row in 2 years)

I can't wait to see the great purge in the management office after the season is over. I hope that they find a good GM and a coach that likes players that hit. Tarnasky is in and the Panthers win...Reminds me of the benching of Boynton last season from Deboer. Or better yet, they find a new coach in Rochester too since there has been major problems with rookie development there.

Also, don't fret. There are still plenty of good draft picks in the top ten - Kabanov, Connolly,Forbort etc. Remember, one guy does not make the whole team, when the team is this bad aka Toronto!

Panthers should try to translate some of the second round picks into first rounders. I'm glad that Clemmenson is in, we can finally see what he can do before the draft.

Regardless of how we finish, which will be out of the playoffs, this team doesn't improve unless there are wholesale changes starting with management.

Sexton is not a builder GM and obviously doesn't have the ability to MAKE a trade happen.

Sell the franchise and move them to Yellowknife where they'll get about as much true fan support as they do in South Florida. Let's truly restart this team from scratch. Abandon its history, its fan base, and its city, and pretend its an expansion franchise located in the frozen tundra of the Northwest Territory. Just think of the outdoor games they could have there. Imagine the first Stanley Cup series to be played outdoors. Great marketing strategy there.

I guess the other 209 teams draftin in 1999 drafted poorly not drafting Zetterberg until the 7th round. Hindsight is 20/20 and if Dudley traded the pick for Horton to Philly for the picks used on Carter and Richards, he would have been strung up for wheeling and dealing too much, and not draftin a "power forward" who wanted to play for this favorite team, the Panthers. Not to mention, both first round picks that year were actually at the insistence of Keenan as he cried at the draft table to Cohen about getting those two.

You people need to get over yourselves and realize when you're goin too far. Horton has the 6th most points scored from his draft year, and third most games played. Fifth most PIMs. Weiss seventh most points, and fifth most games played. Bouwmeester has played the most games and sixth most points, and he's a defenseman. The players are not failing to play. The organization is failing the players. Hockey is a TEAM sport, and this organization hasn't put a TEAM together on the ice with talent that compliments these players. You might not see them play with heart, but honestly... Playing for this franchise, how can you expect them to when the management shows no desire for winning?

Horton until this year, lazy. Has potential, but not sure if we'll ever see it. Get him a real center and we might find out.

Weiss, don't care what ANYONE says, too small, too frail and not nearly enough grit. Can't handle other teams number one centers. Deal him.

Jay Bo, alleged great d-man on inferior team. Now on Calgary with superior partners, other players and a "real hockey city", which is what he wanted. Guess what? 2 goals and 22 assists. Calgary is not happy with his production, or lack of. He's not handling the pressure of playing in a Canadian city.

As for the drafting of the two players by Keenan, which were Horton and Stewart, the organization forced Horton to play center. Big mistake. With Stewart they continued to bury him on the fourth line. In that respect, yes the organization failed it's players, and they are about to do the same thing with Repik.

It's a combination of mistakes, but the bottom line is that the culture here must change.

We have to stop signing guys like Reinprecht, Stillman, Moore, etc.

There is no pressure by management to win, and that is why we are in the situation we are in.
That and all the dumb signings JM did, as well as not tarding Jay Bouwmeester when he first opened his mouth about not wanting to stay, which was 24 months prior to when we did.

statistics mean nothing if it doesn't lead to a winning environment.

I agree with Clash that this organization has failed when developing their players and that has to change.

Where I disagree with Clash is if you only look at statistics you are only seeing part of the story. When were those goals scored, what happens in games that mean something.

the perfect example is baseball where A-Rod has a lot of great statistics however, Jeter has the intangibles of a winner.

Calgary is underachieving and they have Bouwmeester who still hasn't played a playoff game. When Bouwmeester was drafted the scouts talked about him being soft and not playing on a winner.

Jokinen had great statistics when he was here however he was concerned with Jokinen and not the team.

I like Weiss, it is not his fault that the team made him out to be the next Yzerman, Weiss is a solid 2nd line center.

This team's GMs do not have a great history.

I would rank them as:

1. Bobby Clarke, he built the foundation that led to the stanley cup

2. Chuck Fletcher, he was a GM here a short time but he was doing a lot of the leg work under Clarke and Murray.

3. Bryan Murray, he made the greatest trade in panther history and one of the worse.

4. Rick Dudley, he had to deal with Alan Cohen changing his mind whether to listen to him or to Keenan.

5. Sexton, from here on down this explains why the panthers are where they are,

6. JM the GM, didn't want the job and really set the franchise back

7. Keenan, ego, ego, ego

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