February 05 2014 12:06AM
The Wolverine was a beast in this one, but who in a Panthers uniform wasn't, really?
Cam beat me in our Weekly Picks Contest this past Saturday, meaning that I had to cover a game of his choosing from the following week. After some deliberation, he picked the Leafs/Panthers game on Tuesday night, presumably because he's a bitter individual that wants everyone to have to suffer through Leafs games with him.
Except for the fact that this one wasn't actually all that bad. The Florida Panthers are a fun hockey club whose tires I've been pumping for weeks now, and they didn't let me down in this one. Pretty much from the opening puck-drop until the final whistle, they dominated their opponent, eventually breaking through against Jonathan Bernier en route to winning 4-1.
Read on past the jump for the scoring chance data, and some thoughts on the game itself.
Here's a behind the scenes look of sorts at the process involved in tracking this particular game. As you can tell, the Leafs section is pretty much blank in the 1st period, with the lone scoring chance being registered by Dion Phaneuf. The Panthers, on the other hand, had no troubles generating all sorts of quality opportunities Bernier's way:
I watched this contest on GameCenter Live, listening to the Panthers broadcast. Aside from being homers for their roster (who isn't, though?) they were actually kind of decent I thought. At one point, they mentioned that "you want Kessel dumping the puck in, you don't want him carrying it in!". An astute observation, which seems like an obvious one to anyone that watches hockey regularly, but still something that most commentary teams usually fail to discuss.
Then they had an interesting exchange later on:
"The Panthers have a lot of shots on net, but not a lot of goals to show for it. That's been the case all year."
".. and on the other end, Toronto is just the opposite! They capitalize on their chances. That's something you've got to be wary of!"
Fine, maybe I don't want to crown this particular set of guys quite just yet. But still, I thought they actually weren't a terrible listen. Along the lines of that discussion, though, I should point out that the Panthers actually held a 47-14 advantage in shot attempts through 2 periods (before the Leafs made a little score effects regulated push late in the game).
It was a dominant performance by a team that's quietly jumped all the way up to 13th in fenwick for % in 5v5 score close situations on the year. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. If they keep playing this way and keep Tim Thomas healthy, they could make a late charge for a playoff spot. It's just a shame that they started off the year so poorly with Kevin Dineen behind the bench and Scott Clemmensen/Jacob Markstrom between the pipes.
Anyways, as you can maybe see from my notes, I'm totally infatuated with what Florida's top line of Bergenheim-Barkov-Boyes has been able to do since being put together. They control over 56% of all shot attempts at 5v5 when out there as a unit, and a big reason is Sean Bergenheim's play, which garnered him a spot on my All-Hipster Team. In tonight's game, they were on the ice for 24 shot attempts for, and only 9 against. Just another night at the office for one of the league's best lines.
As for the Maple Leafs.. what is there to say at this point? They came into this game 9-1-1 in their past 11, giving fans and old school mainstream media false hope as to where their true ability lies. Poor Jonathan Bernier was the only player to show up for the blue-and-white, who were mocked by fans of their's that made it out to Florida (serenading them with a sarcastic cheer after it took 7:19 for their first shot on goal to be registered).
But hey, at least David Clarkson scored his 4th goal of the season, right? Yeah!
Here's a good recap of the game by Cam. I've also gone ahead and attached the breakdown of the scoring chances below:
|1st Period (EV)||2nd Period (EV)||3rd Period (EV)||Total Chances|
|Florida||9 (9)||7 (7)||8 (7)||24 (23)|
|Toronto||1 (1)||4 (3)||5 (5)||10 (9)|