Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jokinen, Peltonen, Bouwmeester, and Magnus advance to semi's

A Florida Panther will be skating for three of the four teams that remain in the IIHF World Championships. Finland, with Olli Jokinen and Ville Peltonen, defeated David Booth, backup netminder Craig Anderson, and Team USA. Canada, with Jay Bouwmeester on the blueline, easily got past Norway. And Magnus Johansson continues on with Sweden, who defeated the Czech Republic. The final team in the semi-final round is Russia.

Olli Jokinen scored an assist on Finland's first goal, feeding Tuomo Ruutu for the opening tally. Finland went on to hold a 2-0 lead through 2 periods, before the Americans fought back to tie it, scoring both goals in the last 5 minutes of regulation. But Sami Lepisto's goal just over a minute into the overtime but the Fins through to the final four. Jokinen finished with 2 assists, while Peltonen managed 3 shots on goal during his 18+ minutes of ice time.

The Sweden vs. Czech Republic game also went to overtime at 2-2. Florida Panther Magnus Johansson set up Sweden's game tying goal with 4:38 remaining to send the game to extra time. Then, just 3:15 into the 4th period, Mattias Weinhandl sent Sweden on to the next round. Johansson had that assist during an impressive 22:31 of ice time.

Team Canada routed Norway 8-2. Bouwmeester, despite playing on the top defensive line, only saw a little over 12 minutes of ice time due to the blowout nature of the game. Bouwmeester managed just 1 shot on goal and was -1.

While there are only 4 Panther's players remaining, all 4 are solid contributors to their teams. Olli and Ville continue to provide an offensive threat for the Fins, while Bouwmeester and Johansson have been stalwart's on the blueline for their teams. Perhaps this kind of leadership that these players are in currently will bleed over to the 2008-2009 NHL season for the Cats? In any case, it is nice to see these guys playing well. Hopefully it will boost their confidence going into the offseason, and lead to a good beginning to the NHL season come October, which the Panthers have definatly been lacking the last couple seasons.

Semi-final action begins tomorrow at 1, with Russia vs. Finland. The second semi-final game features Canada vs. Sweden, with the puck dropping at 5. Again, for just $4.95 you can catch the semi's and the final game on


FloridaPanthers4ever said...

It's too bad that all 4 of those players you listed might not even be on the team next year.

Jokinen Trade?
Bouwmeester Trade?
I hope Villi gets traded!
Magnus, it's up to JM!

btw, if Jokinen and or Bouwmeester gets traded, season ticketholders better withdrawl their money and RUN! I hear Canada is looking for a new hockey team!

Stanley C. said...

There are certainly questions regarding who will stay and who will go this offseason. I, for one, think the core is right for this team to succeed. The 2nd half of last season showed what this team can do when it focuses and gets together. Martin just wasn't the guy who could figure out how to get that every night. Belak will bring that extra muscle that's been lacking really since Paul Laus left. Pelts has certainly been disappointing, but I don't think he was brought in to be a goal scorer, as he is 34 years old and definately reaching the end of his career. It's his leadership that has been lacking. Although! He is the captain of Team Finland, not his teammate and Panther captain Jokinen, so perhaps he can grind one more year out, assume the leadership role that Jokinen doesn't seem to want, thereby taking the onus off of Jokinen to lead, leaving him relaxed and therefore score easier, as he is in the championships, and hence lead the Cats to the playoffs and beyond. It's so simple! (not)