The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers, 3-0 Thursday night at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. The Capitals put-forth one of their worst efforts of the season to date, failing on numerous power plays and were unable to generate much offense during 5-on-5 play.
Starting lines for the Capitals:
Andre Burakovsky, Aaron Ness and Stanislav Galiev were the healthy scratches for tonight’s game. Brooks Orpik remains on injured reserve, missing his 13th straight game.
The first period was a bit disjointed for both teams, with a lack of crisp passing and controlled zone entries. The Capitals struggled to develop much in the way of consistency with offensive zone pressure throughout a majority of the contest. The Caps had a total of 8 shots on goal at the midway point of the game. The Capitals power play went 0-4 through the first two periods.
The Capitals would get the games’ first power play on a tripping call against Panthers Jussi Jokkinen at the 6:24 mark of the first period. The Caps had extensive offensive zone time, but the Panthers did a good job of keeping the Caps on the perimeter, nullifying any significant pressure by the Caps. The Panthers would go on the power play at the 8:41 mark, however the Caps did a good job of killing off the penalty. The Caps would go back on the power play at the 13:29 mark, but the man-advantage would be nullified just four seconds later on a penalty on Nicklas Backstrom. The first period ended with the Panthers leading 1-0. Panthers led 9-6 in shots on goal.
The Capitals would get called for the periods’ first penalty for a holding call on Karl Alzner at 1:28 of the second period. John Carlson made a nice block on an open path for the Panthers. (Carlson coincidentally is leading the league in blocked shots for the month of December). The Caps continued to have difficulty with offensive zone entries in the first half of the period, with Florida getting a couple of nice chances, but to no avail. Alex Ovechkin would be called for a high sticking a penalty at the 7:24 mark of the middle frame. The Panthers Brandon Pirri would make this one count, scoring on a blast from the right point, giving the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
The Caps would return to the power play at the 12:46 mark of the middle stanza on a hooking call on Dmitry Kulikov, but the Panthers PK would do another good job of shutting down the Caps, allowing only one shot. The Caps would return to the power play with 2:10 left in the period on a delay of game call on Dmitry Kulikov of the Panthers, but once again the Caps would flutter and create very little in the way of chances. The second period ended with the Panthers leading 2-0.
Barry Trotz began to juggle all of the lines at the start of the third period, but to no avail. Tom Wilson would get tossed on a game misconduct for a boarding hit on Bran Campbell early in the third period.
The Panthers would add another tally on a nifty play by Jonathan Huberdeau to feed Aaron Ekblad for back door tap in off the rush. The 4-on-4 goal made it 3-0 with 12:41 left in the final period. Trotz would pull Philipp Grubauer for 6-on-5 with four minutes left in he final frame. Alex Ovechkin would get the Caps on the board with 2:08 left in the game, closing the gap to 3-1. The Panthers would add an empty net goal to make the final 4-1, Panthers.