The Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 4-2 Thursday night at BB&T Arena in Sunrise, Florida. The Capitals would give up the game’s first goal, but would tie the game late in the first period with a power play goal by Nicklas Backstrom. After giving up an early go ahead goal in the second, the Capitals would rally with goals from Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Brett Connolly would make it 4-2 early in the third to secure the victory. The Capitals now enter the All-Star break and will return to action Wednesday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers at Capital One Arena.
Braden Holtby (24-9-2, 2.68 GAA, .916 sv%) started between the pipes for Washington. Harri Sateri (0-2-0, 4.82 GAA, .861 sv%) started in goal for the Panthers. The Caps starting lines and defensive pairs:
Scratches: Devante Smith-Pelly and Taylor Chorney were the healthy scratches for the game.
The Panthers dominated the early going, outshooting the Caps 5-1 through the first 8 minutes of play. The Capitals were also whistled for two consecutive penalties in the first 8 minutes, but would not relinquish a tally. Madison Bowey would be called for slashing giving the Cats their third power play in the first 9 minutes of play, but once again the Caps penalty kill would sniff the Cats man advantage.
The Panthers would finally dent the twine with a goal by Denis Malgin at the 11:02 mark of the opening frame. Shots on goal were 9-3 in favor of Florida at the time of the first tally.
The Capitals would tie things up with a power play goal by Nicklas Backstrom at 17:25 of the opening frame. Alex Ovechkin would register an assist on the goal, his 500th of his NHL career.
The period would end with the game tied 1-1. Shots on goal were 11-10 in favor of Florida. The Panthers won the faceoff battle 56-44%.
The Panthers would retake the lead with Denis Malgin’s second goal of the game, at 6:40 of the middle frame.
Alex Ovechkin would tie things up with his 30th goal of the season at 7:51 of the second period. This was the Capitals first 5v5 goal in 8 periods.
The Caps would grab their first lead of the game with a goal from John Carlson at 17:38 of the middle frame. The goal was setup with a nice feed from Tom Wilson.
The period would end with the Capitals leading 3-2. The Caps outshot Florida 17-9 for the second period, and led 27-20 after two periods of play.
The Capitals would stretch their lead to 4-2 with a power play goal from Brett Connolly at 1:52 of the final frame.
That would be enough the Caps, who would hang on for the 4-2 win.
- John Carlson played in his 575th career Capitals game, tying Mike Green for the ninth-most in franchise history among defensemen.
- NHL box score is here.
By Jon Sorensen
SCENES FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE