A big Hockey Mom high five to everyone who joined me last night for Comcast SportsNet's online chat during the game and a big thanks to CSN for extending the invitation! Joe B. and Locker gave me a nice on-air shout out and even mentioned my boys. Wonder if my boys still think this blog is the "stupidest thing ever." Yeah, to a 14-year old pretty much everything is the "stupidest thing ever" with exception of hockey, Playstation 3 and the "hot girl in my science class."
The absence of the Great8 proved to be no problem for the boys as Alex Semin returned to the lineup with a vengeance, scoring four points in his first game back after injuring his wrist (which appears to be in fine working order judging from the velocity of his first goal)! Almost every player rocking the red with the exception of one or two saw a shot on goal last night and Panthers' goalie Scott Clemmensen got yanked from between the pipes after letting in two tallies in the first period alone. I bet Keith Ballard was wishing he'd kept his emotions in check the other night so they would have at least had Tomas Vokoun facing the Caps' firepower (not that it would have made a lick of difference, mind you). Tomas Fleischmann, Nick Backstrom and Brendan Morrison all contributed to racking up the goals against the bewildered Cats, while Matt Bradley netted the team's first short-handed goal of the season. Varly came this close to a shut out but tempers started flaring late in the third and the boys found themselves in penalty trouble. But nothing like the penalty trouble the Panthers garnered after rookie Mike Duco made the knucklehead move of the night, retaliating against Washington's Alexandre Giroux for a perfectly clean, textbook check against Dmitry Kulikov. That not-so-smooth move earned him an ejection and left his team mates to kill off a seven-minute penalty. Keep up that kind of stuff up kid and your invitations to play with the big boys may become much less frequent.
All in all, a very nice win and a toast to the boys for once again stepping way up in AO's absence! HM will have a preview of the team we all love to hate, the Philadelphia Flyers, forthcoming. One piece of good news to share about the guys in the ugly black and orange, my second favorite team, the Vancouver Canucks, shut them out at home last night - nice job for Roberto Luongo making 38 saves!