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Florida Panthers Finally Win in Philly, top Flyers 2-1 ... Scott Clemmensen Stands Strong as Cats Outshot 36-13 ... Florida Has Won Five Straight

Clemm3BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

Twitter: @OnFrozenPond

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PHILADELPHIA – Although Kevin Dineen talked about how hard it was to “leave that hot stick” in goalie Jose Theodore before Tuesday's game, the Panthers coach went with backup Scott Clemmensen against the Flyers. 

Say this for Florida's first-year bench boss: The guy keeps punching all the right buttons.

Clemmensen made his case for more playing time in Florida's final 10 games as he stopped 35 shots to lift the Panthers to their fifth straight win, a 2-1 victory over the host Flyers. Clemmensen, who hadn't played since March 3, stopped the first 17 shots faced as the Panthers skated to a 2-0 lead.

And, Clemmensen came thisclose to pitching a shutout as Philadelphia's only goal was a fluke. Eric Wellwood's clearing shot from the back boards hit Ed Jovanovski in front of the net, the puck somehow finding its way past a thoroughly surprised Clemmensen.

Florida got some luck as well, however, as Sean Bergenheim's second period goal came from a nice hop off the glass and onto his stick.

“It was just a matter of getting some saves under my belt and going from there,'' said Clemmensen, who helped Florida avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Flyers this regular season.

“When [Jaromir] Jagr hit the post you think luck might be on your side. It wasn't on their goal, obviously. But I got into my comfort zone. After a couple of saves I was in it.''

The Panthers have won five straight for the first time since winning seven consecutive games late in the 2007-08 season. Florida's win extended its lead in the Southeast Division back to five points over idle Washington and the Panthers can probably stop worrying about a Winnipeg team that now stands nine points back. 

Florida goes for win No. 6 Wednesday in Raleigh against Carolina – a team the Panthers are 4-0 against this season. 

“It was not one of our best efforts, but it's a big two points,'' Dineen said. “We found away to get the win. I feel we need everyone contributing in this lineup. There are guys scratching and clawing to get in the lineup. And we're going to need them somewhere down the line. Theodore has played great lately, but I felt [Tuesday] was a good night to go with Clemmensen.''

The Flyers were all over the Panthers and Clemmensen early on and it looked like Tuesday could be a repeat of Philadelphia's 5-0 win here against the Panthers just 12 days ago. The Panthers were put on the penalty kill four times in the opening frame and forced to kill off 42 seconds of a 5-on-3 disadvantage. 

Stephen Weiss gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead just five seconds after Philadelphia's second power play ended in the first. 

“It wasn't the prettiest game and we didn't have the puck a lot,'' Weiss said. “At this time of the year it's all about the results. Our penalty kill kept us in the game and really gave us a boost. It was huge. But Clemmensen was our best player. To hold that team to one goal is pretty good stuff. They have some high-end talent.''

Florida didn't hide its defensive game plan for much of the night as the Panthers played a gritty 'road' game in which it sat back and collapsed around the puck. The Panthers took just three shots in the third period and a season-low 13 for the night; Philadelphia was credited for 36 shots on goal and took aim at Clemmensen 62 times. 

The Panthers have 30 combined shots on goal in their past two games – both wins. Florida has won just two of the 11 games in which it has surpassed the 40 shot plateau.

“Shots on goal don't get you points,'' general manager Dale Tallon barked on the postgame elevator after a reporter mentioned the 30 shots in two games. “We played a great game.''

Said Weiss: “You know what? We've taken 40 shots in games and lost them. We'd rather take the two points.

NO OFFENSE

Dineen made it clear that he means no disrespect by sitting Jerred Smithson as he has in two of the past six games. Florida has two extra forwards not counting Scottie Upshall so concessions have to be made.

On Tuesday, Smithson and Mike Santorelli – who has been benched three straight games – were the healthy scratches as Krys Barch returned to the lineup. 

“Jerred understands the situation,'' Dineen said. “I look at him as a very reliable, low-maintenance player that has some very specific strengths as a player. When he’s doing those things it’s hard to take him out of the lineup. .-.-. There have been some extremely tough decisions on a daily basis for us about whose going in come game time.''

WEDNESDAY: PANTHERS AT HURRICANES

When, Where: 7 p.m.; PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.

TV/Radio: No local TV/WQAM-560

The series: Carolina leads 47-39-11

The game: The Hurricanes have gotten themselves back in the postseason conversation after winning three straight and four of the past six. Carolina is coming off a road weekend in which it won in Minnesota and Winnipeg in successive nights. Florida is 4-0 against the Canes this weekend as Jose Theodore tries to become the first Panthers goalie to win five games against the Hartford/Carolina franchise in one season. 

 

Comments

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Your GM is an ass. I was attending the game with a few 8 yr old hockey players in the row in front of the Panthers staff. Mid way through the second period, the GM asked the Flyers staff to clear out the kids even though they weren't being disruptive and were sitting in their seats watching the game under supervision. Try explaining to an 8 yr old why they can't watch the game when they've done nothing wrong. Way to go there Mr. Tallon. Good job supporting the future of USA Hockey.

you've got no right to talk, games at Wachovia center are miserable for opposing fans, staff, and players. It's the one place I go where I know not to wear a jersey with white in it, because your fans will toss beer on it. Your fans might know the game, but uncivil. If I were him I'd clear out everyone as well.

The fans in Jersey are even more well-behaved.

He may be an ass.... but he's still a freaking genius. WE LOVE YOU DALE!

If you paid for your seats then you should have stayed, if you didn't he had every right to ask you to leave.

Why is there no TV tonight? With the Panthers finally in a playoff race why hasn't this game been added to the broadcast schedule? Instead FSFL is actually showing a rerun of a skateboarding show from last December that will attract perhaps a hundred viewers. Also surprised that George hasn't even commented on this insult to all long suffering Panthers' fans. What a joke!

Don't worry PA Hockey Dad, those kids will have nothing to do with the future of USA Hockey anyways. PA is a football state, not hockey.

And I agree, Philly fans in ANY sport, are probably the biggest a-holes out there. So you're not gonna get any sympathy from anybody outside of Philly on this one, certainly not in here.

OliverT, it's an NBC Sports problem.

George has commented on it on facebook and twitter.

Carolina is going to show the in game feed on NHL Center Ice, it is up to Fox Sports to allow that feed to be shown in South Florida.

As far as the comment about Tallon and the kids, it doesn't sound like Tallon, Yormark maybe, is this guy sure it was the Panthers GM and not the COO?

I'd believe Tallon did that when I see/hear it corroborated by an independant observer. Just doesn't sound like something Dale would do just for the sake of "doing it", IMO. And no, I won't just take the word of a poster in Philly who comes to the blog of a repoter of the team that just stole 2 points from they're favorite team....sorry.

Oh I believe it. I was on the elevator with those kids. I know they are just kids, but when you are invested in each play as Dale is, the noise (they were extremely loud; kids, I know) and constant kid-play gets real annoying real quick. The Flyers could have found a more appropriate place for a bunch of kids than in front of a working and engaged visiting GM. Or that's exactly where they wanted them. Whatever.

How is it an NBC Sports problem? There are 5 games tonight and fans of nine of the ten teams involved can watch their team. That I seem to be the only one bothered by this fact, speaks volumes about the quality of 'support" this team has and the lack of concern of the people who cover them.

Check out my twitter feed Oliver; I've been all over this for two days

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