Sports Outside the Beltway

That 70′s show- Florida outfights Philadelphia 4-1

Tonight’s meeting with the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ resembled a night at fights almost as much as it did a hockey game. There were four separate instances of fisticuffs between the Flyers and Panthers.Three of which took place in the first period.Fl-Phil

When the teams weren’t trading punches, Florida’s first line was excelling at target practice. Michael Frolik, Stephen Weiss got one goal each and Nathan Horton put two pucks in the net on the way to a 4-1 Panther victory.

These players, Horton and Weiss in particular, have been on fire. Here are there point totals through 38 games.

Horton- 13 goals, 24 assists or 37 points
Weiss- 18 goals, 19 assists or 37 points
Frolik- 11 goals, 12 assists or 23 points

This line has scored 13 goals and had 21 assists over the last 6 Florida games.
Weiss had a career high 4 points tonight.
He is also only 2 goals off matching his previous season high(20). At this point Weiss and Horton(both former Florida first round draft picks) on their way to 80 point seasons.
Horton, who most NHL knowledgeable has been a underacheiver, has shown flashes throughout his career that he could reach that point plateau. Weiss is a whole other story. His highest points total for a season is 61 scored in the 2008-09 season. Are these guys just hot or having a breakthrough in their careers?

Florida was 5th in the Eastern Conference in goal scoring going into last weekend. That has occurred while two of the team’s biggest scoring weapons have been out for a month or more. 30-goal scorer David Booth hasn’t played since October and veteran Cory Stillman has been out for a month.

Florida continues to do well on the road. They are 10-9-2 versus 6-6-5 at home. Have the Panthers made a believer of me or do I still think they won’t make the playoffs? I still need more convincing that Florida is really this good.

A couple of closing notes

*- I got to start writing down some of the inane things Panther Billy Lindsay says during a game. Last month he invoked Ross Perot, last Friday he said the Panthers would win if Vokoun shuts out Carolina. Tonight he said the Florida 1st line ‘was hotter than donut grease’. Boy do I miss Denis Potvin.

*- Either Lindsay or Steve Goldstein noted how poorly Flyer Goalie Michael Leighton has played this year. No doubt Leighton has been terrible. He had a .848 save percentage entering tonight and let two of 17 Florida shots get by him tonight. When will Lindsay or Goldstein be just as honest about the performance of Panther Goalie Clemmensen? Clemmensen’s save pct. is .884 and he’s giving up 3.7 goals a game to boot. If Leighton has been terrible for this NHL season, Clemmensen has been very bad.

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