After a two week hiatus, the Washington Capitals got back in action against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. They managed to squeak out a 5-4 win after losing a two goal lead twice throughout the game.
The Capitals got off to a strong start. They scored two quick goals, Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich respectively, and managed to hang on to a one-goal lead at first intermission.
Mikhail Grabovski, sidelined with an ankle injury for several weeks prior to the Olympic break, went down awkwardly in the first period, and appeared to reinjure his ankle. He did not return to the game.
Playing a team with the worst power play percentage in the league certainly worked to the Capitals’ advantage tonight. The Panthers had 6 power plays, and the Capitals were perfect on the penalty kill. Braden Holtby was obviously a big part of this, and made 30 saves on 34 goals against the Panthers.
The Capitals were also perfect on their own two power plays, with both goals scored by Troy Brouwer.
Alex Ovechkin scored the game winning goal, had two assists and was among two other Capitals with three-point nights, Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Laich both had a goal and two assists apiece.
This game looked as if it was all Capitals for a while, but the Panthers snuck back into the game twice, scoring two quick succession goals to tie the game 4-4 with 10 minutes left in the game.
The Panthers were a lowly opponent the Capitals should have been able to put away easily, but instead blew several leads and allowed them to creep back into the game. If the Capitals do end up in the playoffs, they aren’t going to be able to get away with these types of games against better teams. Their fortitude will certainly be tested during their upcoming schedule.