Coach Joel Quenneville

Sunrise, FL – South Florida’s favorite felines returned to action on Saturday after having their two-game winning streak snapped vs. the Jets on Thursday night at the BB&T 4-3. Looking to get back to their winning ways, the Florida Panthers (9-5-5), led by Coach Joel Quenneville, welcomed the New York Rangers (8-7-2) to town and surprisingly, most of lower Manhattan was not in attendance. There were still plenty of blue sweaters throughout the crowd, but definitely less than I was expecting when I drove up to the arena. The Broadway Blueshirts left Sunrise in defeat as the Cats took the win 4-3 on a night that saw Coach Joel Quenneville get his 900th career victory. 

His 900 regular-season wins are the second-most in NHL history behind Scotty Bowman (1,244) and he is the second head coach in NHL history to reach the 900 win mark. A four-time Stanley Cup champion, Coach Joel Quenneville has won three championships as a head coach and has amassed a 118-97 record over 215 postseason contests as head coach. The night also saw Jonathan Huberdeau become the franchise leader in assists with 250, breaking a tie with Stephen Weiss. Congrats to both Hubby and Coach Q.

Before tonight’s game, the Panthers will play 13 of their next 15 games at BB&T Center, in the midst of their longest stretch of home games this season. Florida has played just seven home games, third-fewest in the league. Aleksander Barkov entered today’s contest on a seven-game point streak. The 24-year-old Finnish phenom leads the Cats in assists (19), which ranks tied for fourth-most in the league. 

Game Time

The action was fast and explosive to start the game. If you got to your seats late then you missed out. Mike Hoffman got the Panthers on the board first with his 8th goal of the season, (power play) just two minutes into the game. Rangers immediately answered back 30 seconds later to tie the game.  Hoffman’s goal was his team-leading 5th power-play goal of the season so far. With the goal, the Panthers have now scored at least one power-play goal in each of their last nine games. Evgenii Dadonov was next up to add his name to the score sheet. The Cat Daddy netted his 9th of the season off a Jonathan Huberdeau assist midway through the first period. Once again the Rangers would capitalize and even up the score at 2 in the first intermission. 

The second period saw the Cats go down 3-2 early, but would rebound nicely with goals from Brett Connolly (7) and Dadonov’s second on the night. Sergei Bobrovsky got off to a rough start but settled down in the second period and then completely took over in the third period to help secure the two points. Big Bob stopped 12 shots in the third and the Cats killed 2 crucial penalties that made all those Panthers fans in attendance leave home happy.

“Nice to see him basically dominate the third period” said Coach Joel Quenneville when asked about Bobrovsky tonight. 

The performance from Bobrovsky was much needed by the Panthers. The big free-agent acquisition has had an up and down start to his Panthers tenure. Replacing the legendary Roberto Luongo is no easy task, but with Coach’s guidance, these Cats will go far.  

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Jonathan Huberdeau
  2. Evgenii Dadonov
  3. Keith Yandle

Looking Ahead

The Cats are home this Tuesday as they host the Philadelphia Flyers and Thursday when the battle for 1993 expansion supremacy takes place vs. the Anaheim Ducks

Photo Credit | Danis Sosa

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Edwin Garcia
Known as EdLose or EddyWins depending on the streak. One of the founding members of the Lemonsiders. World traveler and a walking database of unnecessary, useless sports information. I’m the cynical calming voice of reason on the show. I’m a creator of great things. Co-host and creative guru of Lemon City. I dish out the hot sports take on a daily, ask Hipster Rick. I LOVE uniforms and am a collector of vintage baseball caps.

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