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Say a Prayer for Panthers as Ducks Fly South on Sunday ... Nolan Yonkman Up, Takes Beezer's Number

TheocapsI'm in Lakeland on 'special assignment' for your Miami Herald, but I watched Friday's loss to the Capitals and came away with some thoughts. 

Yes, getting three penalties in the third period limited the Panthers opportunities and helped the Capitals score twice and pull off a 2-1 win.

But I thought the Panthers were too passive for much of the second and third periods and should have done more to press Tomas Vokoun and the Caps.

Florida sure could have used some points on Friday - especially after Wednesday's disappointing loss to the Senators.

Beat the Sens and Florida comes into Friday up six on the Capitals. With that cushion, a loss on Friday doesn't hurt so much.

Now the lead is back down to two.

I'm not pushing any panic buttons because I think the Panthers are in good position. But this team sure doesn't make things easier on itself does it?

As impressive as last weekend's sweep of the Devils and Islanders were, it is now all but forgotten with the losses to the Caps and Sens.

And if the Panthers don't make the playoffs, you can look back at the Sens loss with more than a twinge of regret.

The good news on Saturday was that team president Michael Yormark tweeted that he visited temple and said a prayer for the team.

Hey, you take all the help you can get.

-- I'll be back for Sunday's game against Anaheim; in the meantime, follow @RobbieLevin for your Panthers updates on the old Twitter thing.

Yonkman-- The Panthers recalled defensemen Nolan Yonkman on Saturday and he'll make his Florida debut on Sunday against the Ducks.

Rookie Colby Robak was sent down to San Antonio.

Yonkman will wear the No. 34 that John Vanbiesbrouck first broke out in 1993. Some have said BeezerBeezer's number should be retired. Maybe, in time, it will.

For now, Yonkman joins Beezer, Mathieu Biron, David Shantz (but did not play), Alexander Salak and Patrick Rissmiller as those who have rocked No. 34 for the Panthers. 


When, Where: 6 p.m.; BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise

TV/Radio: FS Florida/WQAM-560

The series: Florida leads 10-9-3

The game: Anaheim, as was the case last season, have caught fire after a slow start and have worked itself into postseason consideration. With former Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau (hired by the Ducks days after being canned in Washington) behind the Bruceslapshotbench, Anaheim had gone 15-3-3 since Jan. 1 before losing Friday in New Jersey. The Panthers have lost two straight at home and are 5-4-0 since the All-Star break. The Panthers have lost two straight to their 1993 expansion cousins.

And, yes, that's Boudreau making his move against the Charlestown Chiefs in some movie about hockey from the 70s. Don't think I've ever seen it.