The Florida Panthers will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs which is shaping up to look like a good game, tomorrow night at the Bank Atlantic Center. After coming off a big 5-4 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida will be looking to add another win to its arsenal tomorrow night. As for the leafs, I think the challenge might be greater than the past games, the Panthers are on a role right now and don’t seem to be looking back. This is great news for Panther fans; a club that has been so desperately clawing for consistency is finally experiencing some.
The Maple Leafs will have a tough game in front of them for one reason, when the Panther play their system, they play it to a T. It's a hard working system, so if the Panthers come out flying like they did last game against Carolina, the Maple Leafs might find them behind early on in the first period. This game is a big game for the Panthers to win, the two points are extremely critical as we can craw within one point of Carolina for the division lead, and potentially be third in the eastern conference. That would be an extreme boost of confidence for this young club.
With the Return of Brett McLean, came the return of winning, as odd as that sounds, it's the truth. Back in July, a lot of panther fans questioned this unrestricted free agent signing, whether he was useless or a solid contributor. Everything points to a solid contributor, Brett McLean does all of the little things that helps this club succeed each night, fights in the corners, clears the puck on every penalty kill, nice outlet passes and most importantly goes to the net, he has tallied three points in just two games after returning from a successful hand surgery.
Also a key contributor lately has been Rostislav Olesz, us Panther fans could not be any more satisfied with this youngster's play as of late, he has actually secured himself a first line position on the left wing and boy does he deserve it. He has instantly found chemistry with Jokinen, which is ever so satisfying considering Jokinen does not like doing the dirty work to get the puck, in which Rostislav does. When the Panthers drafted Olesz, he was thought to be a great playmaking forward who had superb defensive instincts; he seems to be fulfilling every bit of that analysis. He had two points last game against the Carolina Hurricanes, and I expect him to be another key contributor tomorrow night against the Maple Leafs.
The most disappointing player as of late is Nathan Horton, his play has been dismal at best, but I believe this is a confidence issue, he is working extremely hard, but the bounces aren't working in his favor, and he often coughs up the puck to the opposing team and worst of all sometimes in our defensive zone. We have been waiting patiently for him to break out of his slump. Last game against Carolina he looked good, but just couldn't get on the score sheet, most all of his shots were blocked, or pucks were finding ways off of his stick.
Tomorrow's match up will be a good one, and an expected sell-out crowd at the Bank Atlantic Center will just make it that much more exciting. Cheers to a good match up in south Florida tomorrow night.