The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers 5-2 Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The loss drops the Caps record to 35-9-4, still best in the NHL. The win improved the Panthers record to 30-15-5, and gave the Cats the season series 2-1. This was the Panthers first win at Verizon Center since December of 2010.
The starting lines for the Capitals:
Alex Ovechkin did not play due to his mandatory one-game suspension for missing the All-Star game. Braden Holtby was scratched to give him some rest following the All-Star game weekend. Marcus Johansson was scratched with a lower body injury he sustained in the last Caps game against the Flyers on January 27th. The goalie match-up for tonight’s contest, provided by @CapsGoalies:
The first period was riddled with penalty calls, eight in total (There was just 11:42 of even strength play in that first period). The Caps went 0-5 on power plays in the first period, including two 5-on-3 advantages, as the Panthers led 2-0 at the first intermission. The second period would see more of the same as the Caps squandered power play time, and the Cats stretched the lead to 4-0. The Caps led in shots on goal 24-17 after two periods. Caps were 0-7 on the power play through two periods. The Caps launched a quick rally in the third period, scoring twice the first two minutes of the final frame, but the Caps rally would stall-out from that point forward. Taylor Chorney would leave the game with flu-like symptoms mid-way through the contest.
The Capitals dominated the first ten minutes of the contest, out-shooting the Panthers 7-4, but it would be the Cats that would strike first on a behind-the-net pass from Jaromir Jagr to Jonathan Huberdeau at 10:43 of the opening frame.
The Capitals would go to a 5-on-3 power play at 12:45, their second of the game, but were unable to convert before a penalty call on the Caps ended the man-advantage. The Panthers would stretch their lead to 2-0 on a Panthers power-play goal by Aleksander Barkov at 15:06 of the first period.
The opening stanza would end with the Panthers leading 2-0. The Capitals led in shots on goal 18-6 for the first period.
Jonathan Huberdeau would add his second goal of the evening to stretch the Panthers lead to 4-0 at the 15:10 mark of the middle frame.
The second period would end with the Panthers leading 4-0. The Capitals led in shots on goal, 27-14.
Andre Burakovsky would close the gap to 4-2 at 1:53 into the third period, and sealing the 5-2 victory.
The Panthers would lock it down from that point forward, adding an empty-netter late in the third period.