A smidgen of justice was served at the expense of the Senators on Thursday when the Panthers were given the game’s first power play after Nick Foligno crashed into goalie Tomas Vokoun early in the first period.
This time the refs did not miss the collision. And 42 seconds after the Ottawa winger had plunked himself down in the box, Bryan McCabe gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Little good it did them, however, as the Senators did not let the weaker team steal one from them in Game 10 on the schedule.
Now, Foligno fully deserved the penalty, although Vokoun could have been thrown into the net by the breeze of him skating past and the officials woulda/shoulda called goalie interference. The Panthers lost in Toronto on Tuesday at least partly because referees Francis Charron and Stephen Walkom (who also worked at Scotiabank Place Thursday) were the only two guys in the ACC who didn’t see Colton Orr run over Florida netminder Scott Clemmensen on the game-winning goal.
Now things are even, Stephen.
The Panthers, of course, don’t need any help losing. Yet they’ve had some from the men in stripes twice through their first seven games. In their season opener, they swear Edmonton’s Shawn Horcoff scored illegally, too.
“We thought the puck was kicked in, again, a late in the game goal that ended up being the winner, in a game we felt we played well enough to win,” coach Peter DeBoer said Thursday morning. “I’m not creating any the-NHL-referees-are-against-the-Florida Panthers. I mean they’ve got bigger things to worry about than us. (But) we missed the playoffs on a percentage point two years ago. We tied Montreal (for eighth) and lost basically because their shootout record was better than ours. I’m the first one to realize how important a single point can be in this league. So trust me, it’s not something you swallow easily.”
No kidding. Any coach or GM would be livid losing with the help of a seventh and eighth skater, who is not wearing the same colour jersey as their team.
Now that the NFL has implemented its replay system, it seems nuts the league went so long without one. How many games, even championships, were won by teams who benefitted from bad calls along the way?
The NHL needs to do something about righting the wrongs. All the technology is there. Use it.
STARTS AND STOPS
Chris Kelly and Milan Michalek celebrated Jarkko Ruutu’s 1,000th penalty minute (a milestone he reached by hooking someone named Mike Santorelli) when they combined for Ottawa’s first goal short-handed goal of the season. It was a big one, too. “I realized I’m not going to get to 1,000 points,” Ruutu said of his contribution. “I’ve got to get to 1,000 somehow.” ... The Senators and Panthers appeared determined to save you some babysitting money in the first period, which they played in just a little more than 28 minutes, including three TV timeouts. Play went 8:54 without being interrupted by a whistle until the Foligno penalty. The game took just 2:15 to complete ... With his two points, Daniel Alfredsson moved ahead of Brian Propp and into 74th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list.
The Fu Manchu you see on Matt “Big Country” Carkner’s mug is the result of a moustache-growing challenge issued to him by Erik Karlsson, who, despite rumours to the contrary, has so reached puberty. “I have to go a month to see any growth on him,” Carkner said. “Mine’s getting rather larger and his looks like a little dirt on his upper lip.” ... Carkner sent Darcy Hordichuk stumbling with a left in their decent second-period tilt. Only four more sleeps until Carkner-Orr V at Air Canada Centre. Doncha dare miss it ... Zack Smith was glad to get the “monkey off the back” with his first goal of the season. Smith hasn’t been happy with his play after having a strong camp. “But the past two games I feel I’ve definitely improved,” he said.
SAY HMMM ...
If Senators GM Bryan Murray was bothered by the boos aimed his way during a pre-game ceremony Tuesday, you’d never know it. “What, that? That was just two guys from Quyon I used to play ball with,” joked the Shawville native ... There’s a reason the coaches are imploring Sergei Gonchar to shoot more. He’s got a cannon, and when he uses it, good things can happen. His first shot on goal of the game — just his 13th of the season — produced the rebound Mike Fisher pounced on to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead ... Chris Phillips had all sorts of trouble with the puck, coughing it up twice in the last minute of the second period and again on Chris Higgins’ goal in the third.
THINGS I THINK I THINK
Panthers W David Booth says he did hear from Mike Richards after the Flyers centre delivered the dirty head shot that caused Booth to miss most of last season with concussion problems. “He sent a text,” Booth said hours before the game. “Yeah, he sent a text message.” To apologize? “I’m not sure if he said sorry,” said Booth. “I don’t really remember what he said.” Clearly his words meant a lot ... Alex Kovalev’s third goal of the season had to be the shortest of his career. In fact, at first it looked like he pushed the puck over the line after it was already over the line ... Cheers to Denis Potvin. No. 5 turns 57 Friday ... Two wins in a row, yes, but the true test for the Senators comes Saturday when the Bruins are in town.