Perhaps Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon should stop taking phone calls from his scavenger-like brethren with the trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Because Tallon's long-stated philosophy that he has no intention of breaking up his young, injury-riddled, last-place team in this bizarre post-lockout season has been justified over the past three weeks. And it was again Tuesday when despite blowing a two-goal lead in the third period, the suddenly resuscitated Panthers rode the stellar goaltending of rookie Jacob Markstrom to a 3-2 shootout victory at a morgue-like Tampa Bay Times Forum. Utilizing a nice blend of four rookies, plus four others who spent time in the AHL this season and a core of never-quit veterans, the Panthers have put together their first three-game winning streak of the season – all in post-regulation fashion - while going 5-3 in their last eight games. "He was the player of the game,'' Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. "Sometimes your shots are deceptive stats and I would say tonight there were some quality shots and Markstrom stood tall when we needed him.'' Perhaps, if the Panthers began the season with the, 'Alien,' in the nets, these final 13 games would be about postseason seeding instead of a desperate effort to somehow overcome a nine-point deficit for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. After a scoreless OT in which Markstrom made sensational saves on Panthers killer Martin St Louis and Eric Brewer, the shootout began. Shootout stud Peter Mueller notched the only shootout goal as Markstrom thwarted Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman and the NHL's leading goal scorer Steven Stamkos. He finished with 39 saves of the Lightning's season-high 41 shots, and has allowed just 14 goals in his last seven games. Mueller is now 13 of 31 in shootouts. Panthers forward Mike Santorelli was placed on waivers for the third time since June, but played the game and would've been the third shootout shooter if the Lightning had tied it up. The Panthers led 2-0 after two on power-play goals that stemmed from bombs from rookie defenseman T.J. Brennan that were tipped home by Tomas Kopecky and AHL callup Greg Rallo respectively. "He's got a heavy shot from the point and he's not afraid to use it,'' Kopecky said of Brennan. "We told him last game it doesn't have to be that hard, just get it through.
Panthers win 3-2 in shootout as Markstrom shines
Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel | Apr 3