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What is Caps' strategy heading into Day 2?

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What is Caps' strategy heading into Day 2?

Maybe Martin Brodeur simply wanted to give himself a bigger raise than the Devils were willing to give him.

Whatever his motivation for hiring Pat Brisson as his agent, it worked. Brodeur signed a two-year, 9 million contract extension with the Devils on Monday morning, ending speculation he would end his brilliant career anywhere but North Jersey.

And thats the way it should be.

Brodeurs signing turns todays free-agent focus back where it was on Sunday on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Brodeurs decision to stay in Newark could have an impact on Parise, who reportedly has been offered contracts as long as 13 years at more than 100 million.

Suters value on the trade market is believed to be just as high, with both players expected to carry salary cap hits of close to 8 million.

The Capitals didnt make much of a splash in the free agent market, signing third- or fourth-line winger Joey Crabb to a one-year, 950,000 contract.

The Caps still have close to 20 million in cap space and could use one of the top-line right wings still available on the market. Shane Doan, who netted 22 goals and 28 assists for the Coyotes last season, would be a perfect fit on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

Doan, 35, is reportedly waiting until next week to make a decision on his future in Phoenix. There has also been league-wide interest in 40-year-old Jaromir Jagr, who put up 19 goals and 35 assists in Philadelphia last season.

Jagr reportedly has received offers from 23 of the NHLs 30 teams. The Capitals would appear to be a longshot considering Jagrs relative lack of success in his three seasons in D.C., when he recorded 201 points in 190 games before being dealt to the Rangers.

The Caps may also have mild interest in Detroit left wing Jiri Hudler, who put up 25 goals and 25 assists in 81 games for the Red Wings last season. Hudler is considered a one-way forward who is not particularly strong at backchecking.

If the Capitals are hoping to strengthen themselves on the blue line, Matt Carle is a capable top four defenseman but may cost as much as 6 million per season. Hard-hitting blue liner Bryce Salvador is also on the market and could serve a role on the Caps second or third pairing.

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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.