Capitals Tame Florida Panthers 4-3 in Brett Connolly’s Return to Washington

1190509645_slideRob Carr/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3 Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. The victory pushes the Capitals’ record to 17-4-5 (37 points). The Capitals are back in action on Friday for their traditional “Black Friday” game. This year they host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Puck drop is set for 5:00 PM.


Braden Holtby (11-2-0-4, 2.85 GAA, .908 sv%) started between the pipes for the Capitals. Sergei Bobrovsky (9-5-0-4, 3.45 GAA, .888 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Panthers. The Capitals starting lines and defensive pairs:

Scratches: Nicklas Backstrom (upper body injury, day-to-day), Christian Djoos (Recalled by the Capitals on Friday).

Brett Connolly made his first appearance at Capital One Arena since signing with the Florida Panthers this past summer.

The Capitals would open the scoring with a tally from Alex Ovechkin (16) at 17:57 of the first frame. Evgeny Kuznetsov (13) had the lone assist.

The first period would expire with the Capitals leading 1-0. The Panthers led in shot attempts 15-14 and shots on goal 12-7 for the first frame.

On a night where the Caps paid tribute to former right wing Brett Connolly, who signed a four-year deal with the Panthers in free agency this past summer, the 2018 Stanley Cup team member potted his first-ever goal against his former club at the 11:17 mark of the second frame, on a breakaway against Holtby. Vincent Trocheck was credited with the assist on the goal.

With one minute left in the middle frame, Richard Panik took a cleared puck onsides and fired it past a stunned Bobrovsky to put the home team ahead by one with 60 seconds left on the clock. The goal is Panik’s second of the season, and came on an assist from Jonas Siegenthaler.

However, Florida’s Mike Hoffman would knot the game at 2-2 just moments later with his 10th of the season on an assist from Aleksander Barkov with 37 seconds left. The two clubs would head into the second intermission tied with a deuce apiece.

The Capitals would pull ahead again with 14:42 left in the final frame as Lars Eller potted a rebound from a Jakub Vrana shot to give the Caps a 3-2 lead. Vrana (who picked up his 100th career point on the assist) picked up the lone assist on the tally.

Brendan Leipsic would score his third of the season on a beautiful backhand shot through the legs of Bobrovsky, after a dandy stretch pass from Radko Gudas.

Vincent Trocheck would edge the Cats closer to the Caps with a wicked shot from a sharp angle at the 15:31 mark of the third, with assists credited to Keith Yandle and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Despite a late power play, the Caps did not extend their lead, and hung on for the 4-3 victory.


  • The NHL box score
  • The Panthers led in shot attempts 50-38 for the game.
  • The Panthers led in shots on goal 40-20 for the game.
  • Braden Holtby made 37 stops on 40 shots by the Panthers.
  • Florida won the faceoff battle 59-41%.
  • The Capitals were 0 for 2 and the Panthers 0 for 3 on the power play.
  • Braden Holtby earned his 12th win of the season, tying him for the League lead. Additionally, Holtby’s 37 saves against the Panthers is his second highest single-game total this season (44 saves, Oct. 20 at Chicago).
  • The Capitals improve to 6-1-0 against the Atlantic Division this season, the most wins they have against a single division.
  • With an assist on Eller’s goal, Jakub Vrana has recorded his 100th career point (51g, 49a). He becomes the 23rd Capitals draft pick at the forward position to record 100 points with the franchise.
  • Already the NHL’s all-time leading goal scorer at the left wing position, Ovechkin’s 674 career goals are 11 shy of passing Teemu Selanne (684) for the 11th most goals in NHL history.


1190511789_slide.jpgRob Carr/Getty Images

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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7 Responses to Capitals Tame Florida Panthers 4-3 in Brett Connolly’s Return to Washington

  1. Day One Caps Fan says:

    Quite the miserable showing from the Caps, stuck in neutral most of the game. GREAT effort by Brendan Leipsic to pull the Caps chestnuts out of the fire.

    When will the Hot Caps of October come back?
    And I can think of one bottom-six forward who REALLY needs to go back to Hershey

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to see CS moved to the 4th line

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