After having only one game in the span of two weeks, Caps fans were practically salivating for some hockey. Thanks to a massive blizzard, two of the Caps recent home games had to be postponed and rescheduled. With the All Star Games, most of the team was on vacation. Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were in Nashville to represent the Caps, along with head coach Barry Trotz. On Tuesday, the boys got back to work taking on the Florida Panthers, who are having a pretty awesome season themselves.
With Braden Holtby getting the night off, Phillip Grubauer got the start.
Same with Al Montoya, who started over Roberto Luongo. Alex Ovechkin (suspended) and Marcus Johansson (upper-body) were out giving Stanislav Galiev and Zach Sill the sweaters for tonight.
First Period: Penalty Parade
The first period was full of penalties committed by both sides. There were eight penalties in total; however, only the Panthers scored despite the Caps peppering the net with 16 shots on goal.
• GOALS- Jonathan Huberdeau scored his 9th of the season, assisted by Jaromir Jagr. Aleksander Barkov got his 14th of the season, assisted by Nick Bjugstad.
• PENALTIES-Erik Gudbranson called for hooking, Barkov called for illegal stick, TJ Oshie called for hooking, Shawn Thorton called for goaltender interference, Dmitry Kulikov called for hooking, Backstrom called for holding, Dmitry Orlov called for slashing and Bjugstad called for interference.
• SCORE-Caps down 0-2
Second Period: Cats Control
The second period looked almost exactly like the first; lots of penalties, no Caps goals, Panthers score twice. Despite lots of offensive prowess, the Caps could not puncture Montoya. The Caps had 11 shots on goal with nothing to show for it. The boys are definitely showing that they have enjoyed a few too many days off recently. The Caps had six takeaways and 16 giveaways in their 40 minutes of play. Not something you want to do against another hot hockey team.
• GOALS-Vincent Trocheck scored his 15th goal of the season, unassisted. Jonathan Huberdeau scored his second goal of the game, which is also his 10th goal of the season.
• PENALTIES-Logan Shaw called for tripping, Jason Chimera called for boarding, and Derek Mackenzie called for a double minor for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct.
• SCORE-Caps trail 0-4
Third Period: Dent the Twine
The third period definitely did not continue in the fashion of the previous two. The Caps finally put two past Montoya, both within the first two minutes of the period. Seeming to spark a fire under the team, the Caps looked like their old selves. With just over nine minutes left, Huberdeau tried to complete his first career hattrick but couldn’t convert on the attempt.
• GOALS- Backstrom scored his 17th of the season, assisted by Kuznetsov, Burakovsky scored his 8th of the season, also assisted by Kuznetsov, Quinton Howden sealed the deal with an empty net goal with 1:53 remaining in the game
• FINAL SCORE-Caps lose 3-5
You could definitely see that the boys were not in the swing of things tonight. They had more than ample opportunity to put this game away early but just could not get anything past the stellar net mining of Montoya. Caps had 38 shots on goal versus the 19 from Florida. The power play was 0-8 in a penalty heavy game, and for a team that has the best PP in the league, that is not acceptable.
Note: Taylor Chorney left the game with flu-like symptoms, will see what tomorrow brings for him.
Caps are now 35-9-4 and 2-2-1 in their last 5.
Their next game is Thursday at home against the Islanders at 7:30pm on NBCSN.
Practice scheduled at Kettler for 1130 am Wednesday.
Morning skate scheduled for Thursday at Kettler at 1030 am.
Practice schedule for Friday at Kettler at 1030.
Come cheer on your team!
Written by: Ashley Reid
Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy