Entering the third period of Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Capitals held a three-goal lead and, seemingly, were in control of a game they’d been the better team in through two periods.
Then the dam broke, the floodgates opened and just about every other disaster metaphor unfolded, as the Capitals were outshot 26-2 in the game’s final period. The Panthers rallied to win 5-4 with a goal with just 14.4 seconds to play.
For as much as the on-ice product suffered, the numbers were even uglier.
According to Natural Stat Trick, the Capitals were out-attempted 34-4 at all strengths and 23-2 at five-on-five in the final period. Those percentages make up a 10.53% and 8% shot attempt share, respectively.
Five-on-five shots favored the Panthers 18-1 and scoring chances favored them 14-0. They had six high-danger chances compared to zero for the Capitals. It was a remarkably one-sided 20 minutes in complete contrast to the first 40 minutes.
For his part, Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov stopped 46 of 51 shots on the night, which was good for a .902 save percentage. Two of the goals he let in were on the power play, and the shorthanded goal allowed was on a breakaway attempt.
The 51 shots allowed was the most the team had allowed all season, smashing the previous mark of 37 set against the Ottawa Senators in October. That night, the offense was there to bail out the Capitals in a 7-5 win. But four goals wasn’t enough in Sunrise, Fla. on Tuesday despite a good start to the game.
Washington was strong through the first two periods and actually held a 25-24 shot advantage entering the third period.
With goals from Connor McMichael, Beck Malenstyn, Lars Eller and Nick Jensen, the scoring was spread around and — while the game was a bit more wide open than they’d have liked — the Capitals felt good entering the final period. Why wouldn't they?
And then, everything that could’ve gone wrong did in a 20 minutes they’d certainly love to forget. Luckily, they will have that chance Thursday back at Capital One Arena against the Chicago Blackhawks. Until then they will think about the game that slipped away so quickly.