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.
The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.
Meet the newest prospects:
1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds
The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.
Alexander Alexeyev’s teammates in Russia nicknamed him “poker face” because of his poise with the puck. And, yeah, he asked Alex Ovechkin about the fountain celebration during their FaceTime conversation yesterday. Haha. #ALLCAPSpic.twitter.com/iVguNmidFq
Wendel Clark was mowing the lawn at his Muskoka cottage when son Kody came running outside to tell dad he'd been picked No. 47 by Stanley Cup-champion #caps. "It's more exciting than when I was picked (1st overall, #leafs, '85)," Wendel said. "It's part of being a dad." #tmltalk
“Watching both of those young men play, they do a lot of the little things properly.” — #ALLCAPS Assistant GM Ross Mahoney on Kody Clark and Riley Sutter, both the sons of longtime NHLers (Wendel Clark and Ron Sutter). pic.twitter.com/aK9d1FnJvB
A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.
Gibson is a Harvard commit from the Philly suburbs. He joked that he'll know his way around KCI at Dev Camp next week, having played for Valley Forge, Team Comcast, etc. in the @AYHL. So he faced the @LittleCapitals a lot.
DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.
“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”
Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall).
That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.
MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.
MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more.
He earned $4 million last season.
Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.
MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.
“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”