In theory, and only in theory, this should be the year of the Florida Panthers.
Posted at 4:10 p.m
The Panthers haven’t had much to laugh about in recent years, and even in their lifetime we’ll still tell each other.
Aside from playing under palm trees and having the luxury of walking into the arena in flip-flops, Panthers players haven’t often had the right to be lucky. It’s a good time to remember that the Sunrise Club has only reached the first round of the playoffs once since its inception in 1996, in the good old days of plastic rats and Scott Mellanby. That’s called scarcity.
All of that was to change this season, the season of all hopes in Florida.
The club finished the season first in the NHL overall with 122 points, and several of their players have had magical seasons, starting with Jonathan Huberdeau, who offered a 115-point season.
And what do we say about players of this quality? They say they have to be the best. Of course, Huberdeau opened the scoring with his first goal of the running series on Saturday afternoon in Washington, but we’ll probably remember something else, his interference penalty midway through the third period.
The Capitals were already leading 3-1 at this point and used this power play to extend their lead by one goal. It was the end of the broadcasts from this goal achieved by Alex Ovechkin.
The Capitals now have a 2-1 series lead and of course it’s not over yet. There are teams that have already strayed from a more comfortable lead, and everyone knows that fourth win is the hardest to come by. Also, we can remember the wise words of Yogi Berra who once said it’s not over until it’s over.
But in the meantime, the Capitals have done what they had to do at the beginning of the confrontation: sow doubt.
Remember, the Panthers ended the season with 22 points more than their Washington rivals. But now, on this beautiful spring Saturday afternoon, it all meant nothing, especially after the Capitals’ 6-1 win. The result is important, yes, but there is always a way and what we saw in game number three was a correction, nothing less. The Capitals have scored six straight goals after Jonathan Huberdeau’s goal…
Do the Panthers still have petrol in their tanks? It will be necessary. These Capitals are tenacious despite the time, and going into the playoffs it was very tempting to bury them fairly quickly. Finally, the Panthers’ arrow appeared to be pointing up, not the Capitals’.
Right now, it doesn’t seem very clear and the Panthers are once again in a weak position. It’s not too late for them, but at the same time things are getting a little hectic.