Capitals Blow Another Lead, Fall to Panthers 3-2; Andre Burakovsky Continues to Heat Up

Photo: Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers 3-2 Thursday night in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers would strike first early in the opening frame before Lars Eller would tie the game late in the period, making it 1-1 at the first intermission. Andre Burakovsky would give the Caps a 2-1 lead midway through the middle frame. The Panthers would tie the game late in the final frame with a goal from Nick Bjugstad and win it with a power play goal with 19 seconds left in the game. The Capitals return to action on Saturday when they host the Buffalo Sabres at Capitals One Arena. Puck drop is 7:00 p.m. 

Braden Holtby (28-12-4, 2.95 GAA, .909 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. Roberto Luongo (7-7-1, 2.54 GAA, .929 sv%) got the start in goal for the Panthers. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:


Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey and Jakub Jarebek were the healthy scratches.

The Panthers would light the lamp first with a rebound goal by Maxim Mamin at 4:50 of the first. This was Mamin’s first career NHL goal.

Brooks Orpik and Mackenzie would drop the gloves with 9:16 remaining in the first period.

Lars Eller would tie the game with a deflection of an Andre Burakovsky shot from the point at 18:55 of the first period.

The first period would conclude with the game tied 1-1. The Capitals outshot the Panthers 14-11 for the first 20 minutes.

The Capitals would take a 2-1 lead with a goal from the slot by Andre Burakovsky at 9:56 of the middle frame. This was Burakovsky’s 7th goal of the season.

The period would end with the Caps holding on to the 2-1 lead. The Caps outshot the Panthers 11-7 for the period, and 25-18 after two periods of play.

The Capitals and Panthers battled the final period with furious pace but no scoring. The Panthers led in shots on goal 8-4 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Florida went nine minutes where they generated just a single shot on goal.

However, the Panthers would tie things up with a goal by Nick Bjugstad at the 16:18 mark of the final stanza and grab the lead with 19 seconds remaining in the game to steal the victory.


  • This is the 2nd time in the Caps last 5 games Burakovsky has had a multi-point game.
  • The NHL box score is here.

By Jon Sorensen


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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14 Responses to Capitals Blow Another Lead, Fall to Panthers 3-2; Andre Burakovsky Continues to Heat Up

  1. Diane Doyle says:

    Confess I feel rather angry about this loss and their recent play lately. Too many squandered leads. Too many holes to climb out of. And seems like the team is alway turtling when they have a lead and I keep getting nightmares about all those lost playoff games to the Rangers. (Why Rangers – because the team would often have a 1 goal lead against them, given up a goal late, and then lose in OT.) Today, they didn’t even wait until OT to lose.

  2. Jon,

    How much ice time did Connolly, Burakovsky and Eller log tonight?

    Even thiough they’re the so-called third line, it seems to me that they merit more PT—particularly lately in view of the fact that the two lines ahead of them haven’t been that great outside of #8…

    Connolly and Burakovsky need more ice time in order to develop chemistry with each other and further hone their skills. Nothing else will achieve that but more playing time. Besides, Andre and Brett have two of the quickest releases on the team and it will pay MAJOR dividends come playoff time if their coach gives them time NOW to play through their mistakes and mature the way Jon Cooper has allowed youngsters Braden Point, TylerJohnson, Vladislav Nemestnikov and Yanni Gourde to bloom…All for them have twenty goals or more except Johnson (who has 17 along with 26 assists)…and ALL of Coopers youngsters have been allowed to play through and past their faux pas which makes the Lightning the last team other teams will want to face in the early rounds of the post season…Similar things can be said about the Jets young trio of Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Nikolaj Ehlers…

    Now are the Lightning;’s youngsters and the Jets’ youngsters THAT much better than our young players (Vrana, Connolly and Burakovsky)?

    Or is it the methodology and decisions about PT by the coaches of the respective teams that’s made such an enormous difference in the production of the players in question?

    Just curious, but personally I think it’s the latter…

    Santa Monica

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Clifford, insightful as always. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, I tend to agree with what your say about the third line. I would keep an eye on the TOI stat over the next few games, as I would expect to see that reflect your comments.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I didnt see the game… how did the new D look?

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  5. I think it might be time for Holtby to sit a few games and let Grubauer take #1 for a while. Give him some time to get his head straight again and get back to where he was earlier in the season.

    I thought Kempny looked really good, especially considering he hasn’t played on the right in…well, probably not since his youth days. The little stuff — anticipatory lift checks, positioning, knowing when to jump and pinch in — was what was missing from Bowey, but that comes from experience. Bowey might make a great D in a few seasons, but he wasn’t doing the team any favors so far. To me the Kempny signing is less about this season and more about the future where we probably won’t have Orpik (1 year left after this season) and/or Carlson (UFA) unless the GM makes a splash deal for Carlson.

  6. Peter I couldn’t agree with you more regarding Holtby. The rhinoceros in the room continues to be Holtby’s reputation versus his less-than-stellar play this season–to put it kindly. If you listen to the Capitals’ announcers and the members of the team’s media pool you’d often think they were talking about Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden or Martin Brodeur when they describe how good Braden Holtby is…Except he isn’t.

    At his best he’s a good goalie with a good glove hand and good lateral movement. That noted, he allows far too many goals that someone with his hype simply shouldn’t. He squints, and he focuses, and he lasers in and he concentrates and he still lets goals in on the short side over both shoulders or else between his legs–especially against elite competition…Grubaue,r on the other hand, feels more reliable to me and, frankly, I think the Capitals’ record would be just as good–or even better–if their status was flipped and Grubauer was named the lead goaltender…What’s more, even though no one in the Capitals club house will ever confirm it, I’d bet a year’s salary that many of the Caps’ players would concur…


    Santa Monica

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