Photo by John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images
The Washington Capitals were torched by the Florida Panthers, 6-3, at Capital One Arena on Thursday night. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves in the loss.
Washington’s Lines vs. Florida
Anthony Mantha — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Marcus Johansson
Joe Snively — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Nicolas Aube-Kubel — Lars Eller — Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Dylan McIlrath — Martin Fehervary
Scratched: D Alexander Alexeyev, C Aliaksei Protas, D Matt Irwin
Injured: D John Carlson (upper-body, missed 21st straight game, out indefinitely); LW Alex Ovechkin (death of father, second, day-to-day); RW Connor Brown (ACL, 53rd, indefinite); LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 57th, indefinite); C Nic Dowd (lower-body, 11th, indefinite); RW Tom Wilson (lower-body, seventh, day-to-day)
McIlrath, who was recalled from the AHL’s Hershey Bears on Wednesday, replaced Irwin in the team’s lone lineup change from Washington’s 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Aube-Kubel appeared in his 200th career NHL game.
Anton Lundell — Aleksander Barkov — Sam Reinhart
Carter Verhaeghe — Eetu Luostarinen — Matthew Tkachuk
Ryan Lomberg — Colin White — Nick Cousins
Gregorio Denisenko — Eric Staal — Givani Smith
Gustav Forsling — Aaron Ekblad
Marc Staal — Brandon Montour
Josh Mahura — Radko Gudas
Scratched: D Casey Fitzgerald, C Chris Tierney
Injured: RW Anthony Duclair (Achilles, 58th, indefinite); RW Patric Hornqvist (concussion, 33rd, indefinite); C Sam Bennett (undisclosed, first, day-to-day)
9:10, 1-0 Florida: Forsling stepped in and ripped a wrister past the glove of Kuemper from the left dot after Luostarinen fed him from down low.
Gus on the move 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/TFyzAZ2j13
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 17, 2023
Shots: 10-6 Florida
Other Notable Stats: Florida, who had three giveaways while Washington recorded four, led 4-1 in takeaways and 7-5 in hits. Each team earned five blocked shots. Washington did not score on two power plays while Florida failed to convert on one.
1:32, 2-0: Staal bombed a one-timer that went past the blocker of Kuemper from the left point with Tkachuk in front after Montour faked a slapshot on the other side and fed him.
M Staalsy from up 🔝 pic.twitter.com/4yjIIogGxY
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 17, 2023
7:20, 3-0: After Bobrovsky stoned Eller twice, Lundell sent White past the defense at the other end and While backhanded a shot to the roof past the left pad of Kuemper on a breakaway.
Backhand BEAUTY 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/qRcMDvBE1a
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 17, 2023
15:51, 3-1: Strome tipped in Oshie’s wrister from the top through the five-hole of Bobrovsky from the slot after Gustafsson handed the puck to Oshie at the point. Seven of Strome’s 12 goals have come in the second period.
#ALLCAPS 1-3. GIVE ME DOME STROME pic.twitter.com/BlHhoRxAOP
— Capitals Replays (@capsreplays) February 17, 2023
17:03, 4-1: Barkov ripped a wrister through the five-hole of Kuemper from the right dot on a two-on-one rush after getting the puck along the half-wall in the defensive zone.
You need to look to score a goal??? Can’t relate pic.twitter.com/4nyYKHudyJ
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 17, 2023
Shots: 30-17 Florida (including 20-11 in the second)
Other Notable Stats: Washington won 57% of the draws and led 18-15 in hits. Florida led 16-5 in blocked shots, 6-1 in takeaways, and had five giveaways while Washington recorded six.
13:04, 4-2 (PPG): Backstrom prevented a clear by Gudas, stepped in, and ripped one that hit the stick of Staal and went through the five-hole of Bobrovsky from the top of the right dot. With the primary helper, Gustafsson earned his fifth in his last five.
Got another pic.twitter.com/8AnouhoL32
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 17, 2023
17:28, 4-3 (PPG): Kuznetsov backhanded a shot off of Forsling from the side of the net after Oshie’s shot from the left side was blocked. With two assists vs. Florida, Oshie registered his sixth multi-point game of the season.
Evgeny Kuznetsov buries the rebound at the side of the net, trimming down the Washington deficit!#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/1Wo7jyAMD4
— Hockey Daily 365 l NHL Highlights (@HockeyDaily365) February 17, 2023
18:39, 5-3 (ENG): Lundell backhanded a shot in the crease after Mantha saved a goal with his stick and then again with his foot before the puck went to Lundell.
19:46, 6-3 (ENG): Reinhart stuffed one into an empty net in front after Lundell missed from the half-wall and the puck went behind the net.
Shots: 36-31 Florida (13-6 Washington in the third)
Other Notable Stats: Washington, who scored twice on five power plays, led 26-15 in hits and won 56% of the faceoffs. Florida, who was held scoreless on two opportunities on the man advantage, led 22-10 in blocked shots and 10-2 in takeaways. Each team earned nine giveaways.
Next game: 2023 NHL Stadium Series on Saturday at Carolina (8 PM ET, ABC, ESPN+)
By Harrison Brown
That was 🐴💩
We are gonna get smoked on Saturday. Smokin Al made good points about effort tonight.
Another yawner. Florida isn’t even good. Father Time has caught up with the Caps.
So Kuzy is too old for the game?
I’ll grant you Backy. He needs to retire or be traded and I love him and would miss him, but he’s not right for the Caps anymore.
Kuzy’s numbers can be explained in two ways….. 1) His Russian friend’s dad died. 2) Lavy changed things around since Backy and Wilson came back and even before that, they weren’t playing like they were in December. That positive possession style of hockey benefited Kuzy.
Eller, on the other hand, needs to stay with the team. He’s one of the better players, and this game shows that.
Backy I’d be willing to expose to waiver wire and send him to Hershey if he goes through. At what point does on ice play become important over sentiment?
Kuzy is still our best Center. He’s a good 2C at this point. He doesn’t show the dominant 1C stuff that he has shown in long stretches in the past. He’s not old. If he doesn’t get hit too much I expect he’ll continue as a 2C.
Backstrom scored a goal last night. He just doesn’t appear to have the extra gear he used to. Backstrom probably can’t play very well defensively at this point and if he’s a 40 pt player now…that’s tough at 9+ million per. Maybe he gets better but I’ll be surprised.
The team is way too old overall. If they plan to compete for another Cup they’ll have to find some young stars through the draft. If people want to see the old guys play hockey and finish in the bottom third of the league they can do that, too.
The problem is Kuzy takes time off during games. To be the best you have to play like the best all the time.
As for trades for this team, honestly who wants Mantha, Backy or Eller? At this point the Caps should be sellers and moving both salary and players with either a UFA or RFA status for picks the next few years. The “Brain Trust” of this organization must face facts and realize that although Ted’s ego might want the scoring record what is more important is rebuilding an old and slow team back into status where they are considered a Cup contender. In doing that they also should make a coaching change NOW and bring in the HC and staff that they want to be in charge of the rebuild so that they are here for the draft and sell off of players this year and resigning of players over the summer. The ego of the owner threw away any chance of a 2nd Cup when he refused to pay Trotz and has paid dearly for it as have the fans and players. Somewhere in the back of my mind there sits a comparison between Ted and the Angelos family looking at the past production and singing players to ridiculous contracts (Backy, Carlson, Oshie for the Caps and Davis for the Orioles). However of the players that are tradeable can Wash do without them next year?
Ovi walks if no commitment from Ted to try to keep a competitive team together. If you are upset, blame Ovi. I prefer keeping Ovi while he goes for the record personally.
Carlson’s contract was not a mistake and at 8m per looks better and better each year. If you haven’t noticed how important he is over the last month or so, I don’t know what to tell you. Ovi contract they had to give more term to squeeze in the dollars and he is the glue to the team. Is he in his prime and is he worth the money at this point, probably not, but we all knew this was coming, although he is still averaging 1/2 point per game which is solid and last year he was very good sp tough to hate on him much…
The biggest issue is injuries and missing so many key components for so much of the year. Are those injuries due to age – in several cases, probably so.
Protas, Snively and CMM – 57 games played, 4 goals and 9 assist….so lets not kid ourselves about going with youth…as slow as Backy is, he has 3 goals and 4 assist in 14 games
Ovy is averaging over 1pt per game and scoring at a 50 goal a year pace since signing his new contract so he is easily worth his new contract. Backstrom has 4 pts at 5v5 in 14 gms and he is -10 (for what it’s worth). His line is outplayed and outchanced constantly and he is dragging his linemates down. He is a big part of the reason why the caps have sucked since the new year.
Now I’m hearing reports that Johansson got injured in a collision with Gudas before Nicky B’s goal
On NHL shows and this board I don’t hear nearly enough about the Caps injuries…I hate games like last night as well, but sheesh, it has been smoke and mirrors all year. If you want to put the injuries on age of the team, okay I guess, but a couple key guys in their prime (Brown, Wilson) have missed the most time.
It isn’t just about games missed, it is the who, our top 2 defensemen have played 30 and 41 games. We have missed most of our top scorers- Oshi 18 games, Backy 43, Connor Brown 53, Tom Wilson 49 and of course Carlson has missed 27 games.
We got a lot out of Sheary and Johansson early, but both have reverted to their means, which should have been expected. So many of the youngsters that people on here cry for to be on the roster have disappointed with their opportunities to win spots. Even I love Protas, but while seemingly playing well, the guy hasn’t produced much.
AS for Protas you cant produce much when you play all over the lineup and don’t play every night and when you do play your minutes are limited because you are a young player. You have to remember this is a HC who loves and wants veteran players even if they can only play on one leg or are slow and don’t have a good shot anymore.
As for injuries, honestly who wants to talk about them as they have crippled this team this year and the HC refuses to play the kids in Hershey. I think I heard on the NHL channel that the Caps have the third most man-games lost in the league with 389 as of 2/5. So in a way the Caps are not doing so bad when you consider all the players out with injuries. Injuries happen and some like those of Backy, his hip are age related due to amount of playtime over his life while others like Brown, Wilson, Dowd and Carlson ae just part of the game.
Last night, in the first period, was the worst I have seen the Caps play in a long time. Was it the lines, was it the opponent played harder, was it that the Caps were missing their Leader, don’t know the answer to that however if they play that way Saturday they might as well not show up as Carolina is going to embarrass them.
At this point the Caps should be sellers and moving both salary and players with either a UFA or RFA status for picks the next few years. The “Brain Trust” of this organization must face facts and realize that although Ted’s ego might want the scoring record what is more important is rebuilding an old and slow team back into status where they are considered a Cup contender. In doing that they also should make a coaching change NOW and bring in the HC and staff that they want to be in charge of the rebuild so that they are here for the draft and sell off of players this year and resigning of players over the summer. The ego of the owner threw away any chance of a 2nd Cup when he refused to pay Trotz and has paid dearly for it as have the fans and players. Somewhere in the back of my mind there sits a comparison between Ted and the Angelos family looking at the past production and singing players to ridiculous contracts (Backy, Carlson for the Caps and Davis for the Orioles). Isn’t it time for a new front office and HC for this team?
The only RFAs they have left are Alexeyev and Fehervary. No way they should trade those two young D who are under team control unless they get incredible offers for them, like 1st round picks in this year’s draft.
But the UFAs? Dump all of them and get what you can while you can.
I’ve heard the studio crew talk about the Caps injuries during each of the national games. As well as that the Caps are the second oldest team in the league. Lavvy has gotten talk for Jack Adams actually, specifically for the injuries, although he’s a long shot.
Actually, according to several sites I checked, the Caps are the oldest team in the league. But they knew that going into the season. They have had lots of injuries, but so have other teams. Laviolette hasn’t been able to figure out ways to get this group, including injury fill-ins, to play the right way for most of the season. There is clearly a problem here…
I’ve never been able to figure out how team age is decided. All 48 under contract? The 20 on the roster yesterday? Do you count those on LTIR? IR? Suspended? Absent? Day-to-day, week-to-week, indefinite?
I agree that there is a problem. When no players stand out, it is a team problem. Lavi is in charge of the team. I don’t expect better results this season no matter who suits up.
Winning the Cup would be nice, but that is not why I watch the Caps. Or any team. I watch to be entertained. I give up my time (and pay for cable) to be entertained. Last night was not entertaining.
LMAO @ Lavvy getting any award with this team that he has so well crafted that they are sinking before your eyes!
I fail to understand the attraction for the owner and management to keep the HC unless what they are worried about is the almighty $$$$$. They let a chance for a 2nd Cup slip away over $$$ to pay Trotz and instead hired the forgettable Reardon, who was a flop.
This past summer they should have brought in a new HC and maybe even a new GM for the rebuild that has to happen. Teds’ ego and quest and want for the scoring title has to cease and realize that may never happen now and that the TEAM is more important than ANY individual goals or awards. Basically I look at it this way the owner for the sake of getting Ovie the scoring title is willing to wreck this team for a generation. So so sad! Egually sad is the way that the owner and GM keep thinking and pushing this team as a Cup contender when they have not made it out of the 1st round of playoffs the last 4 years and will be lucky to make it this year.
You’re right about that, horn. The Caps’ injury situation was really epic this year without a lot of acknowledgements from anyone. That many core players out at the same time is devastating. As a group they overperformed for a good part of the season and I admire them for it. Unfortunately, the guys that returned weren’t able to boost the team because they can’t perform at their previous level Connor Brown was just stinking bad luck – the others are just a year older and more injury prone.
You know, relentlessly harping on “the owner” as the cause of the Caps’ demise, how about acknowledging that the Caps have spent at the cap limit for many years. It’s not the first time a franchise has been so grateful it finally won a championship that it offered some unwise contracts as rewards. I’m old enough to remember when the Caps actually had a cheap owner. Leonsis is not that.
This is depressing, but not unexpected. The team is in slow decline before our eyes, mixing in wins against top playoff teams and then a ridiculous egg layin’ dud against poor teams that they should be beating up on. It’s only a matter of time when it will be losses against top and bottom teams in the league!
This is the mandate given to BMac, go all in, no tear down of the team while Ovi and Nicky are here. And this is what happens when you can only make some cosmetic moves or tinker a little bit here, a little bit there. Thanks, Ted.
The PP is atrocious, the coaching is suspect (really, Forsythe had no other PP strategy or contingency in case Ovi was ever out? They don’t practice other looks?), the team D is hit or miss and mostly miss….McIrath brought up to help clear the crease and open sight lines against the physical Panthers, and they STILL scored using screens?
Team is turning into the Blackhawks. If Boston and the Isles could turn things around when it was thought all was lost with a rebuild then the Caps can…..? There needs to be the will to do it and Ted has too much sentimentality and loyalty to the vet core
Is there a chance that Ovi and especially Backstrom might be willing to renegotiate their contracts. With $20M of cap space committed, the Caps have very little financial flexibility. These 2 guys probably want to finish off their exemplary careers in DC and we want them to, but we won’t be competitive until we get some $ relief.
Unfortunately, no re-negotiations in the NHL.
Ovy is easily worth his contract, 30 goals scorer are getting paid 7 millions plus, how much do you think a perennial 50 goal scorer is worth? And that’s on a bad team by the way. Backstrom on the other hand that’s a disgrace. I’d compare him to a 3rd liner but it’s an insult to 3rd liners around the league.