Capitals Doomed In Third Period, Fall 5-4 In Florida; Jensen, Malenstyn Each Earn Goal, Assist

Photo: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell the Florida Panthers at FLA Live Arena by a score of 5-4 on Tuesday night and saw their winning-streak end at three despite entering the third period with a 4-1 lead and dominating play through two periods. The Capitals now lead the Hurricanes by two points but will enter Wednesday having played two more games than the Hurricanes. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made a career-high 45 saves in his fourth consecutive start and sixth start in the Capitals’ past seven games.

Capitals’ Lines at Panthers

Graphic: @Capitals

The Capitals did not make any line changes from their 4-2 win over the Hurricanes on Sunday.

Scratched: RW Daniel Sprong, LHD Matt Irwin

Injured: C Nicklas Backstrom (hip, missed 23rd straight game, week-to-week), RW T.J. Oshie (lower-body, fifth/15th in past 16, day-to-day), LW Anthony Mantha (shoulder, 13th, indefinite), LW Conor Sheary (lower-body, fifth, day-to-day), RHD Justin Schultz (upper-body, third, day-to-day)

First Period

Center Connor McMichael hacked and whacked at the side of the goal beneath the goal line after defenseman Nick Jensen’s shot from the point was blocked. McMichael banked it off of Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to open the scoring for the Capitals 5:52 into the game.

11 seconds later, center Beck Malenstyn tapped home his first career NHL goal after right-wing Brett Leason caught defenseman Trevor Van Riemsdyk’s indirect pass from center, weaved his way through two Panthers defensemen, and fed a wide-open Malenstyn on the doorstep. Malenstyn became the Capitals’ seventh rookie to score a goal this season, making this season the first since 1981-82 that the Capitals have had as many as seven who were drafted by the team score in one season. The Capitals score twice in a span of 11 seconds at most for the 19th time in franchise history and the second this season (10 seconds in first period of 2-0 win at Detroit Red Wings on November 11).

Center Joe Thornton tapped in the puck into a wide open net after Leason blocked defenseman Aaron Ekblad’s wrister from up top to cut the Capitals’ lead in half 52 seconds after Malenstyn scored. Thornton tied Mark Recchi for 12th on the NHL’s all-time points list with the 1533rd of his 1692-game NHL career.

The Capitals led 16-11 in hits, had four giveaways while the Panthers had seven, and did not score on one power play in the opening 20 minutes.

The Panthers led 15-12 in shots, 5-3 in blocked shots, and 4-2 in takeaways through one period.

The teams split the battle at the dot in the first.

Second Period

Center Lars Eller took the puck around Ekblad, protected it from defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on the backhand, and tucked it past Bobrovsky’s right pad after taking a feed from right-wing Tom Wilson in the neutral zone to restore the Capitals’ two-goal lead 6:40 into the second. Wilson extended his point-streak to five games (where he has earned three goals and nine points) while defenseman Dmitry Orlov earned his fifth assist, including second on Tuesday, and seventh point in his last five games.

Defenseman Nick Jensen waited for a moment and ripped one past the glove of Bobrovsky to make it 4-1 Capitals at 12:40 with a little help from Panthers center Anton Lundell’s arm and leg after getting a feed from center Nic Dowd at the side of the goal. With a goal (his third of the season) and an assist on Tuesday, the 31-year-old notched his 10th career multi-point game. Malenstyn earned the first assist and multi-point game of his NHL career.

The Capitals led 25-24 in shots, including 13-9 in the second, 30-25 in hits, and had six giveaways while the Panthers had 12 through 40 minutes.

The Panthers led 8-5 in blocked shots, 8-6 in takeaways, and won 55% of the draws through two periods.

Each team failed to score on one power play in the first two stanzas.

Third Period

Left-wing Ryan Lomberg slammed in a feed by right-wing Patric Hornqvist from the slot at the side of the goal to cut the Capitals’ lead in half at 3:23.

Center Eetu Luostarinen slipped one through the five-hole of Samsonov on a shorthanded breakaway after getting sprained by Lomberg to get the Panthers back within one 2:43 later.

Ekblad blasted one through the five-hole of Samsonov from up top on the power play with a one-timer after a give-and-go with center Sam Bennett to tie it with 7:59 left.

Center Sam Reinhart slipped one past Samsonov at the left post on the power play after getting a cross-ice feed from Huberdeau with 14.4 seconds left to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead.

The Capitals led had seven giveaways while the Panthers had 15 and did not score on two power plays.

The Panthers led 50-27 in shots, including 26-2 in the third, 10-7 in blocked shots, 16-9 in takeaways, scored twice on four power plays, and won 53% of the draws.

Each team earned 35 hits.

Next game: vs. Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in market, ESPN+ out of market)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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4 Responses to Capitals Doomed In Third Period, Fall 5-4 In Florida; Jensen, Malenstyn Each Earn Goal, Assist

  1. votato says:

    im getting sick and tired of the caps not skating when they have the lead in the third. the second panthers goal was completely avoidable if carlson just skates back on D. he had a step. seems like a coaching issue. theres no reason to sit back and not skate. lavi needs to get after them more.

  2. novafyre says:

    Caps need to play a 60 minute game and work on their PP. We also need to win more faceoffs.

    NHL has made it worse — now sog 51-27 and 27-2 in third.

  3. DC Scappeli says:

    unreal…Lavi and McCarthy have to teach this team to lock down the other team!!! Seen too many blow leads over the past years, going back into the Trotz era. Have to give the Cats credit, they didn’t quit and kept pressing and imposing their game on the Caps. On the other hand, Caps just fell apart and like Lavi said, they stopped working. They got outworked and handed the game over to them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Burn the tape and move on. I think the Blackhawks are in serious trouble Thursday night.

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