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Caps earn first road win of the season with victory over Panthers

Caps earn first road win of the season with victory over Panthers

The Capitals squandered a two-goal lead, but still managed the 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

How it happened: The Caps took a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Justin Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov, but they allowed the Panthers to come back with Jaromir Jagr providing the game-tying tally in the second period. With the score tied, Alex Ovechkin tipped in a shot from Matt Niskanen in the third period for his second goal of the season. That would prove to be the game-winner.

What it means: The win was the Caps' first road win of the season and the first against the Atlantic Division. Last season, the Caps found success against the Atlantic with a record of 33-5-3. With a record of 3-0-1, the Caps have earned at least one point in each of their games in the early season.

RELATED: CHORNEY STILL WAITING TO SEE ICE THIS SEASON

Quick Strike: Justin Williams put the Caps on the board at the 8:25 mark in the first period as he took a very nice pass from Nate Schmidt and got two good whacks on it before he sent it past goalie Roberto Luongo. Just 1:56 later, Evgeny Kuznetsov deflected a shot over the pad of Luongo for his first goal of the season. Before the Panthers knew what had hit them, they were trailing 2-0.

750 for Jagr: With his second period goal, Jaromir Jagr became the third player in NHL history to score 750 goals. Only Wayne Gretzky (894 goals) and Gordie Howe (801) had previously reached that mark. Of his 750 goals, 83 came while Jagr was a member of the Capitals.

Saved by the whistle: With the Caps clinging to a 2-1 lead, the Panthers thought they had pulled even as Colton Sceviour hit the puck underneath Holtby while laying on the ice. The goal was immediately waved off, however, as the referee had blown his whistle. The play would be reviewed, but it was ruled that the whistle had indeed blown before the goal.

A heavier workload: On Tuesday, the Caps suffocated the Colorado Avalanche's offense, allowing only 18 shots on goal on Philipp Grubauer. The workload was considerably heavier for Braden Holtby on Thursday. Florida finished with 28 shots for the game which by itself is not all that high. Half of those shots, however, came in the second period as the Caps were outshot 14-4. Florida managed only one goal in those 14 shots, but it was a significant one as it tied the game at 2.

Look ahead: The Capitals return home for their first date with the New York Rangers of the season. Then they hit the road for a four-game road trip through Western Canada.

MORE CAPITALS: PROSPECT REPORT: A SLOW START FOR HERSHEY

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.