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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win over Florida, but lose Kuznetsov

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps win over Florida, but lose Kuznetsov

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist and Evgeny Kuznetsov notched a pair of helpers to lift the Caps to a 4-2 victory over the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. on Thursday night.

With the victory, Washington, which recorded a season-high 46 shots on goal, ended a three-game slide and entered the All-Star break with some momentum. But the team also headed into the three-day hiatus with some concern for Kuznetsov, who suffered an undisclosed injury midway through the third period and did not return. There was no further update provided by the team.

RELATED: STILL THINKS OVECHKIN'S A SELFISH PLAYER? 500 CAREER ASSISTS SHOULD MAKE YOU RECONSIDER

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

How could you go with anyone else? Ovi scored goal No. 30 in the second period to tie the score 2-2.

With the goal, Ovechkin became the 10th player to record 13 different 30-goal seasons. Ovechkin also earned assist No. 500 on Nicklas Backstrom’s power play tally in the first period, making him the second player in franchise history to reach the plateau (Backstrom entered the game with 568 assists).

2-Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals

Kuznetsov had two assists, marking his first multi-point game in 13 contests. The performance came a day after Coach Barry Trotz said he needed more from No. 92. Points and consistency, however, aren’t the biggest issues for Kuznetsov at the moment.

MORE CAPITALS: TROTZ WANTS TO SEE KUZNETSOV PROVE HIM WRONG

3-Brett Connolly, Capitals

Connolly’s 13th goal of the season, on the power play, put the Caps ahead 4-2 early in the third period.

No. 10 now has four goals in the last five games and is two goals away from matching the career-high he established last season.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

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USA TODAY Sports

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby. Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1. It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.