Game 46: Edmonton 4-Florida 2, top line held scoreless, pulled goalie discussion

SUNRISE–When you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not, you’re not. The Florida Panthers are cold right now, despite playing at home the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers, a revenge game for a Panthers’ win in Edmonoton eight days before.

Trailing 3-0 entering the third the Panthers managed to chip away 2/3 of that deficit with goals by Reilly Smith and Quinten Howden. Florida goalie Al Montoya lost his first game in a long time to drop his record to 7-2-1. Highlights of the game which included two goals by Edmonton’s Taylor Hall can be seen here:


Whether it was motivational or tactical, the second intermission finally saw the Panthers play the kind of puck possession they did during their 12-game winning streak. Lost in the angst among Panthers fans is that Edmonton’s goalie, Cam Talbot, delivered superior performance when New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundquist was injured last season, so much so that the Rangers did not see the need to rush the King back into action last year.

Another source of anxiety for  Florida fans was the near empty net goal scored by Edmonton when Montoya had to reverse tracks after the Panthers lost control of the puck as they were trying to get the equalizer.

What about the empty net strategy? It’s more of an NHL thing than something tried in Europe.

An hour of research produced one chart from last season showing the number of goals scored with pulled goalies.


We also found one lengthy article of recent vintage…

A few random stats on the topic, of all goals scored with an empty net, only 30% are scored by the team with the man advantage. Obviously 70% are scored by the team aiming for the empty net. This stat doesn’t inlcude the number of situations where no goal was scored by either team.  As for an overall percentage, and it’s difficult to track without reading game summaries for every game the situation occurred, the attacking team scores 8% while surrendering goals 35% of the time. So far this year pulling the goalie has worked at a higher percentage for the Panthers than it has before.

The sure-fire solution to prevent empty net goals is for a team to find its groove early in a game and keep it throughout, taking a lead into the late stages of the game so the opponent is putting their net at risk for an easy score.

What’s fueling the Panthers losing streak is the inability of the defensemen to get the puck out of the defensive zone causing the forwards to retreat back behind their own net to assist. There’s nothing bothering Florida that won’t be fixed when their young, All-Star defenseman Aaron Ekblad returns to action, though that return is uncertain. As of Monday he was all but ruled out for Friday’s game with Chicago. Ekblad was injured in the previous game with Edmonton on a check from behind by Matt Hendricks. Erik Gudbranson handled Hendricks in a first-period fight that inspired Florida to a 2-0 deficit. In the second period Gudbranson left the game with a back sprain leaving the team without two of its better defensemen.

Tickets for all future Panthers games including the Chicago game,  Tampa Bay, Saturday, and Toronto, Tuesday, Jan. 26 are available at

Updated standings show Florida on top in a tightening Atlantic Division race.

Expanded Atlantic Division Standings

The latest Jagr-O-Meter…The legend was held without a point in Monday’s game as the Panthers top line spent too much time in the defensive zone.


Assorted Jagr-related links:

Florida Panthers 2015-16 Media Guide

Florida Panthers Team website:

Some Jagr-related  social media accounts:

@68Jagr  This is the real site,  the one and only official Jaromir Jagr twitter account. Postings are rare, but worth the wait. Jagr has been more active on Twitter this season.

The two best Jagr facebook pages are:

 This is the page Jagr posts on, if he is going to post at all.

Another good facebook page is one produced by someone in the Czech Republic. It has more than 100,000 likes. This is not the official page, but it is very good.

@FlaPanthers and @FLAPanthersPR  The official twitter accounts for news about the team.

@dougielarge  Doug Cifu, few owners in sports relate to the fans as much as this man who interacts with fans and media on twitter.

@goldieonice  — Steve Goldstein, TV play-by-play of the Panthers. Brings all those exciting highlights to life.

@DenisPotvinFox — NHL Hall  of  Famer Denis Potvin works along side Goldstein in the booth.

@HeyRedDeer color man Randy Moller who left the radio booth to help Goldstein and Potvin on TV.

@GeorgeRichards  Panthers beat writer for the Miami Herald.

@HFialkov Panthers beat writer for the Sun Sentinel

@AntwanStaley Includes Panthers coverage in his all sports all the time reports

@Cats0ntheprowl twitter for Cats On the Prowl, offering detailed reviews of Panthers  games and more.

@SunshineSkate twitter for The Sunshine Skate, another blog with special emphasis on advanced stats and charts that will make you dizzy.

@Zdenek_Janda  US-based Czech reporter who covers the NHL and reports on other news for the people of the Czech Republic.

@Jsmidcro    Jan Smid was a US-based Czech reporter who collaborated on “Jagr”, an autobiography in the late 90’s detailing Jagr’s early life and career in the NHL.

@NHLHistoryGirl This hockey loving woman shares interesting informational tidbits about hockey and the NHL in general. How does she do it?

@MyRegularFace  She’s another gem. Watches lots of games and gets up GIFs faster than or anyone else out there.

@KrRutherford Kristina Rutherford wrote a great article for Canada’s sportsnet magazine.

Nigel Buchanan, whose superhero treatment of Jagr in his art for sportsnet magazine is one of the many efforts he has on display at

The article was shared by Sportsnet on Dec. 20, 2015.

Quant Hockey: Career stats updated game by game by a hockey lover in Europe. Site enables you to find career leaders in any offensive category by clicking on the category you are researching.

@rytiriKladno The Kladno Hockey Club: Before coming to the NHL Jagr played for this team in the Czech league as a teenager. Now he owns the team. It’s in Czech  but some devices can translate to English.  Follow them at:

@HockeyCzech  National organization for hockey in the Czech Republic.

@68isgr8  is the twitter for The Traveling Jagrs. Clad in different Jagr jerseys and hair styles from 68’s career, they gained league-wide recognition when they caught Jagr’s attention during a pre-game skate of a Dallas Stars game in Canada during the 2012-2013 season. Since then, they convene at games in Western Canada and make a road trip or two every year, playing street hockey with locals, posing for hundreds of pictures, and having a good time with fans while honoring an all-time NHL legend.

Ray Haluska aka Kladno Jagr, curator of the Jagr-O-Meter or email ROKINRAY@AOL.COM


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