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Strader's Playoff Blog

Monday, 05.07.2007 / 1:14 PM / News
Florida Panthers
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Strader\'s Playoff Blog

Hello Panther fans….

I’m writing while aboard my United flight from Anaheim to Albany (through Chicago) as our Versus crew wrapped up coverage of the Anaheim-Vancouver series last night at Honda Center. Game 5 turned into another overtime nail biter as the Ducks prevailed 2-1 in double overtime to win the series four games to one. The only reason the Canucks were able to extend this game was due to the goaltending of Roberto Luongo. Ironically, it would be a split second lapse in focus by Luongo that would cost the Canucks the winning goal.

But let’s go back to the start of the first overtime when everyone was stunned that Vancouver backup Dany Sabourin skated out to defend the Canucks’ goal. While getting the true story from NHL locker rooms during the playoffs is iffy at best, it seemed that Luongo had an equipment issue that took longer to fix that the intermission time allowed.   After watching Luongo make nearly 50 saves through regulation, the Canucks could only hold their breath as Anaheim stormed the Vancouver zone and peppered Sabourin with 5 shots, including three quality scoring chances in the very first shift. Luongo eventually emerged from the room and took over in goal. He continued his stellar play until the sequence that led to the winning goal. As the Canucks tried to move the puck along the boards out of their zone, Jannik Hansen had his head down. The Ducks’ Rob Niedermayer buried him with a thunderous check. While everyone in the building was reacting to the hit, the puck slid back to Scott Niedermayer who quickly wristed it toward the net. To everyone’s surprise (including Luongo) the puck found the back of the net. It wasn’t until we saw the replays that we realized Luongo had reacted to the Rob Niedermayer hit by turning to his left to say something to the ref. In the instant that Luongo made his motion at the official, the puck was on its way to the net. He never saw it. A tough way to be reminded of a goaltending basic: never take your eyes off the puck.

For those of you who were watching our Versus telecast and waiting for a replay that showed how the puck actually got in the net, it turns out that all the cameramen covering the game were also drawn to the hit preceding the goal. CBC (Hockey Night in Canada) had one high angle that showed most of the play, but we couldn’t tell for sure whether Scott Niedermayer’s shot deflected off someone on the way to the net. 

Our Versus crew is done for these playoffs as only two crews move on to the conference finals. My next assignment is the Western Conference Final on NHL radio. I’ll be working with Darren Pang as the analyst and Ralph Strangis (Dallas Stars’ play-by-play guy) as our ice level reporter. Anaheim takes on the Detroit-San Jose winner.

A quick aside…all Panther fans are looking forward to July 1st, the start of the free agency period, to see what players Jacques Martin might lure to south Florida. Jacques, who hired Randy Sexton as his assistant GM earlier in the year, may have made his best acquisition to date by adding Joe Nieuwendyk to his staff. Joe will be a great asset in terms of working with the young players in the Panthers’ organization and in recruiting potential free agents to Florida. 

In closing, I received a wonderful message from Jeff Rimer. He had read my previous blog and he truly appreciated my words regarding his open heart surgery. I spoke with him Sunday afternoon at his home and he sounds great…not in any pain and looking forward to getting back to work. He realizes how lucky he is that he went to his doctor for a physical as soon as the season ended. 

I’ll be back later in the week with my first installment from the Western Conference final.




1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31


N. Bjugstad 44 15 12 1 27
J. Huberdeau 41 8 17 1 25
A. Ekblad 44 6 19 7 25
J. Jokinen 43 4 20 0 24
J. Hayes 36 13 7 1 20
B. Boyes 42 9 11 1 20
S. Bergenheim 33 7 9 4 16
T. Fleischmann 38 5 8 9 13
V. Trocheck 28 4 9 6 13
D. Kulikov 39 1 12 -2 13
R. Luongo 17 10 8 .923 2.32
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .887 3.09 is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.