Tonight was a great all-around effort. Still gave up tons of shots, but Kari had an absolutely monster game. You could tell that last-second goal pissed him off, and he might even be playing with a chip on his shoulder, but wow. I'd even venture to say this was one of his best games all year. He also got lucky a few times, but he came up with some HUGE saves when it counted. I mean, throwing your stick out of the way to block the shot with your armpit? Amazing.
For much of the game, it really was a goalie's battle. Both teams had great chances that they couldn't convert (both teams missed on a wide open net), and both defenses played pretty solid. It seems like the refs were calling everything tonight, and the PK was just outstanding (for both teams, really). Florida went 0-7 on the powerplay tonight. Kudos to the PK unit.
I really liked the Armstrong/Slater/Perrin line. They did a great job of cycling the puck, and seemed to keep it in the offensive zone longer than any other combo. It was hard to really get a sense of lines tonight because of all the penalties, but they stood out as being great on the puck tonight.
Little played great with Kozlov and Recchi. I thought both Kozzie and Recchi had solid games and lots of chances, and I didn't notice Little as much until his awesome assist on the GWG, but I really do think Little is making the players around him better. Great hustle, great puckhandling, more of that please.
Our D corps actually played a pretty great game tonight--as a unit. Sure, we could point to a few miscues (i.e. Bobo on Horton leading to a breakaway), but for the most part guys were there backing each other up, staying in position, and keeping the crease clear. I know the Panthers had a few point blank shots in the first, but other than that the D seemed to do a great job in the zone tonight. Let's not get carried away, there are still problems (44 shots! Not just on the D players, but on defense in general), but they played well as a unit tonight.
Holik is a beast. What more can you say? I wish he'd do it all year, but credit where credit is due, he was on tonight.
Kovy seems to be in a mini-slump-- he still has those flashes of brilliance where he dekes 3 players and still gets off the shot (and did you see the shot as he was sliding across on his belly?), but he didn't play a complete game tonight, in my opinion.
Overall, it was a morale booster for the guys, and a well-earned win for Kari. I'm glad he gets to enjoy this win. And, if you're into such things, we probably killed Florida's playoff chances!
As always, this is only my two cents. I could be wrong.