On Thursday night, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals headed south to BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida to take on Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers. The Caps have a pretty good record against the Panthers, getting a point in 14 out of their last 16 meetings.
Would the Caps walk away with 2 more points tonight? If the forwards keep producing like they have been, the defense stays solid and there’s another strong performance from our Holtby, it should be another Caps victory.
In the first period, Andre Burakovsky undressed Micheal Matheson with a beautiful deke, but was stopped by Roberto Luongo. TJ Oshie had a great oppurtunity as well, but was denied by the right post. Justin Williams got the Caps on the board first with a good follow-up shot on a rebound of his previous shot that was blocked by Luongo. Nate Schmidt got the primary apple on Williams’ goal. Not even 2 minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov got a lucky bounce and put another past Luongo, assisted by Matt Niskanen. Holtby made some excellent saves to keep the Panthers off the board. However, Matheson put one past Holtby’s glove side and got the Panthers their first goal of the game. Caps lead in shots on goal 12-8, and also on the scoreboard. Good guys up, 2-1.
In the second period, the first penalty of the game was committed and resulted in a powerplay for Florida. Lars Eller was called for tripping Denis Malgin, but the Caps successfully killed the penalty. Holtby got lucky with another puck that pinged off the post. Washington was called for another penalty when Oshie was caught hooking
Jussi Jokinen. The Panthers got a goal during the ensuing powerplay that was promptly waved off. However, Jagr got his 750th goal past Holtby, glove side again. The goal, which tied the game, was during a Panthers powerplay. Nicklas Backstrom was called for tripping Shane Harper.
The Caps seemed tired in the second. They spent a lot of time in their own zone. The ice was definitely tilted in Florida’s favor and the Caps were lucky to get out of the period tied with the Panthers, 2-2.
The Caps started off the third period still having issues clearing their own zone or maintaining pressure in the offensive zone. The Panthers were called for their first penalty of the game when Keith Yandle was caught hooking Burakovsky. The Caps went to the powerplay, which was killed by Florida. About three minutes later, Ovechkin gave the Caps back the lead. Niskanen got the primary assist when he fired a shot on net that Ovi deflected past Luongo. Nate Schmidt was then called for interference and the Caps were right back to the penalty kill. Holtby gave the ref an earful when his helmet was knocked off by Jagr’s stick when it caught the cage of his mask. There was a scary moment for Daniel Winnick when he took a blocked shot off the side of his face. Luckily, he was ok and returned to the game. (we found out later, he lost part of his ear–really part of his ear!) The Caps were able to kill the penalty and Brett Connelly almost got his first goal on an odd man rush with Justin Williams, but Luongo stoned him. Marcus Johannson was the benefactor of a turnover and blasted an unassisted goal past Luongo to seal the victory.
Caps win, 4-2.
This was the Caps third victory in a row. They are now 3-0-1, with their only loss the overtime loss against
Pittsburgh in the season opener. There was good offensive support from the Caps D-men. There were multiple
Caps defensive players that had assists on the Caps goals. Despite a lackluster second period, the Caps had
a strong game.
The next bout is at home on Saturday, October 22. The Caps take on the New York Rangers at the
Verizon Center at 7 pm.