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Fehr returns to the lineup as Penguins look to close out his former team

Fehr returns to the lineup as Penguins look to close out his former team

Eric Fehr has been here before. He hasn't just seen the Caps' postseason struggles in the past, he was a part of them for several seasons.

But while everyone is talking about the "same old Caps" Fehr, now a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, says this is a very different situation.

"To be honest, most of the time when we lost series in the past it was when you had a big lead," Fehr said referring to his time with Washington. "We weren't behind a lot. I'm expecting a high powered offense from their team."

Fehr now finds himself in an odd situation. He sits just one win away from reaching the conference finals for the first time in his career and one win away from handing his former team yet another second round exit.

The irony is not lost on the veteran forward.

"It's been intersting for sure," Fehr said. "It's really tough to explain when you're going against some of your good friends and you're leaving it all out there, you're hitting as hard as you can and you're trying to score. It's a little bit different, but it's something that I've become more used to as the year's gone on."

Fehr missed Game 4 due to an undisclosed injury, but said that he fully expects to be back for Game 5. Fehr declined to specify the nature of the injury or even point to where the injury was on his body.

As the Fehr returns to the ice trying to finish off his former team, he also said he intended to take his past experience with the Caps into account.

"I'm really trying not to look to that next round and just realize just how difficult this game has been to win in the past. It's just always toughest to win the last one. The team across the hallway is a desperate team and we know what they're capable of so I'm not looking to that third round quite yet."

NOTES: Veteran defenseman Kris Letang will return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension in Game 4. Defenseman Olli Maatta remains out.

RELATED: GAME 5 GIVES CAPS A CHANCE TO 'FIND OUT WHAT WE'RE ALL ABOUT'

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

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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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.