Sports Outside the Beltway

A Great Finnish- Florida Panthers beat Chicago Blackhawks 4-3

No I didn’t make a typo in the title of this post. The game was played in Helsinki Finland and for that and another reason I typed the word Finnish instead of finish.

The first game of the 2009-10 NHL is in the books for my favorite hockey team. On a shootout goal by Finnish born defenseman Ville Koistinen, the Florida Panthers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3.Panther-Blackhawk

After a scoreless first period, Chicago’s Patrick Kane opened the scoring. Coming off the bench after a penalty, Kane got a breakaway shot past Tomas Vokoun.

Florida quickly came back to tie the game. 2nd year Panther Michael Frolik scored a goal assisted by Steven Reinprecht and Dennis Seidenberg. The second period ended with the game tied 1-1.

Chicago jumped out to a 2-1 lead early in the third period and things looked to get worse when a Florida penalty gave the Blackhawks a power play. Then Chicago returned the favor less than 60 seconds later, they were called for too many players on the ice. Ville Koistinen who got the game winner in overtime, scored a goal less than a minute after the Chicago penalty.

Patrick Sharp scored a goal with a little over 8 minutes to go in the game to put Chicago up 3-2. With time running out, Florida looked like they were going to open the year with a loss. Then for the third time today, Florida rallied from a one goal deficit. Florida’s leading scorer from last season, David Booth, scored a unassisted goal at the 17:39 mark of the 3rd period.

The rest of the third period and overtime were scoreless. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews opened the scoring in the shootout, but Steve Reinprecht immediately got the goal back for Florida. Ville Koistinen’s gamewinner was sandwiched by Tomas Vokoun stops of shootout shots by Patrick Kane and Patrick Kane. Florida had itself an exciting 4-3 shootout victory.

Today’s game was great, but I don’t really know what it tells us about the Florida Panthers for 2009-10. Last season, Florida got out of its quitting habits when behind that were all too prevalent during the Jacques Martin years. I am still modestly confident that the Panthers could make the playoffs for the first time in nine NHL seasons.

Other things of note

*- Goalie Tomas Vokoun didn’t look real sharp today. If I were Panther Coach Peter DeBoer, I’d start Scott Clemmensen in goal for tomorrow’s game. Yes Vokoun stopped 51 of Chicago’s 55 shots today, including 2 of 3 in the shootout, but he looked awkward to me too many times during the game

*- Talking about shots on goal, Chicago had 55, Florida 24!

*- Interim Florida GM Randy Sexton has been given the job on a permanent basis. What the Panthers need is a new owner. Only then may this franchise get their act together rather than letting all the team’s best players go to free agency or trading them away.

*- My viewing of today’s game wasn’t without service interruptions. After all the work I had to do to ensure myself the chance to watch today’s season opener, Comcast decided today was the day to replace the defective cable wiring the technician who came to my house yesterday discovered. At three points during the broadcast, my cable was disconnected.

While none of the interruptions lasted more than a few minutes, I was and still am really pissed at Comcast. The reason I had a technician come yesterday was so I could watch today’s game from the comfort of my home. After fixing my connection, this idiotic company decides to do work on my house on the very day and time I wanted to make sure I had cable television. I called to complain to Comcast, but the company refused to stop the work. They could have dug up my backyard 364 days and 21 hours out of the rest of the year. Comcast- Lets screw our paying customers. That must be the company motto.

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