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3 posts from December 11, 2013

December 11, 2013

SHOOTOUT THE LIGHTS: Panthers Newcomers Fuel Shootout Improvement

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers seem to be much more confident when it comes to games going to shootouts than in years past. Credit some new additions for that.

In Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win over visiting Detroit, the Panthers got goals from rookie Aleksander Barkov and newcomer Brad Boyes. Goalie Tim Thomas, who signed with Florida during training camp, made saves on two of Detroit's three shots.

Florida, one of the worst teams in shootouts since it was introduced in 2005, is 3-4 in the bonus round this season with nine goals on 21 shots.

Thomas is 3-1 in shootouts this year and 33-28 overall.

"Look at our personnel, look at Timmie,'' coach Peter Horachek said when asked what Florida's difference has been this year. "When you have the goaltending, you can win with that if you get just one. Our shooters have been pretty good. When you have guys who can finish and have the goaltending, you can go into those with confidence.''

Barkov's shot was a thing of beauty, as he walked in on Detroit's Jimmy Howard and moved left. Howard bit and Barkov slid the puck to his right and tucked it into the net.

"That's a really good move,'' Thomas said after the game. "He's done it to me a few times in practice. .-.-. I got him the first time. He didn't sell it as well as he should have. The second time he sold it and there's nothing you can do.''

Barkov said he used that move a few times in Finland last year and obviously worked on it against Thomas.

"I like this move, I think it's easy to do because I have a long reach. It's good for me,'' Barkov said. "It's nice to score a goal.''

Boyes retook the NHL lead for active players with his 35th goal Tuesday - one better than Minnesota's Zach Parise. Tuesday's shot was his 11th career game-decider as he is 4-for-5 in shootouts this year.

On Tuesday, Boyes shot third and got to see what Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau did against Howard. Boyes went in hard and fired a shot through Howard's skates.

"A long time ago I decided to pick something as I was going in and stick with it,'' Boyes said. "After that, it's been pretty good. I've had some success with it.''

-- The Panthers were scheduled to have an afternoon practice Wednesday at the arena but Horachek cancelled it at the last minute following off-ice workouts.

"They worked hard last night,'' Horachek said, adding the team did a lot in the weight room as well.

The practice was scheduled for the arena because the team was holding its annual holiday party at the arena that night.

Since the equipment is already set up at the arena, Thursday's practice will be held there as well. It is not open to the general public.


SANTA'S NOT ONLY THING COMING TO TOWN: Tim Hortons to Open at Sunrise Arena

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

It's time to rejoice South Florida: Tim Hortons is back.

The famous Canadian doughnut shop will open an express location around section 114 at the BB&T Center on Friday. As of now, only coffee and hot chocolate will be available but TimBits - the small doughnut hole pieces of deliciousness - could be coming soon.

"That's the best news I've heard all week,'' Panthers assistant coach John Madden said Wednesday.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum has had a similar coffee cart the past few seasons with cups of coffee and hot chocolate going for $2 -- which isn't much more than what is charged at Timmies throughout the northeast, midwest and in Canada.

Prices for the Panthers aren't known yet.

Tim Hortons once operated a few locations in Pompano Beach but don't have any permanent spots in the Sunshine State. Word is, the Panthers' Iceplex in Coral Springs will be getting a Tim Hortons of their own and there have been rumors that stores will begin cropping up here soon.


GLASNOST: Panthers Work to Make Sure Tuesday's PlexiGate Doesn't Happen Again

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

The Panthers' plexiglas problem took on a life of its own Tuesday night as it was featured on sites throughout the internet and made an appearance on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Midway through the third period Tuesday, a shot cracked a pane of glass behind the Detroit goal. Florida's ice crew took down the busted piece and was ready to replace it with another but that piece of glass slipped off its cart and cracked.

The arena only keeps one piece of glass without its protective backing to keep it from being scratched or broken. So when the backup piece of glass broke, all they had left was glass with the double-sided adhesive backing.

Because it would have taken an approximate 20 minutes to get the stubborn adhesive off, the decision was to put the glass up with the backing still on.

What it looked like was cardboard or plywood instead of glass. "Hurricane season is over,'' Panthers television voice Steve Goldstein quipped on the broadcast.

Game officials told both benches that the odd-looking glass was indeed glass and safe for play. As the third period went on, the backing was taken off another piece of glass and the one with backing on was replaced during the break before overtime.

According to one member of the ice crew, all remaining pieces of glass at the arena were cleared of the protective backing on Wednesday. Large pieces of cardboard are being used to keep the glass sheets from scratches.

"I'm from Toronto so it was pretty big news there,'' said Brad Boyes, who scored the game-winner in the shootout.

"My friends were sending me all kinds of pictures. It was quite the conversation piece. We were told on the bench that it was glass but it would take time to get the cover-up off. It would have been a 20 minute delay. They wanted to get the game going. But we knew it was glass. If it would have been plywood, we would have been in trouble.''