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Capitals snap two-game skid with narrow win over Panthers

Capitals snap two-game skid with narrow win over Panthers

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals are back in the win column, ending a brief two-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday. The first 39 minutes of the game were relatively quiet with each team scoring only once. The real action was saved for the last minute of the second where both teams scored and then the third period where Washington scored twice to take the two-goal lead. Vincent Trocheck would pull Florida to within one with less than five minutes remaining, but the Caps held on.

Here is how Washington won.

Two early penalty kills

Radko Gudas was called for holding just over five minutues into the game, giving Florida's fifth-ranked power play an early opportunity. Just 32 seconds after Washington killed off the penalty, John Carlson was booked for delay of game as he shot the puck out of play.

In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Caps faced four minutes of power play time from one of the best units in the league. The penalty kill came up huge with two kills to keep Florida off the board.

Kuznetsov takes the defense with him

Evgeny Kuznetsov collected a Panthers' turnover in the neutral zone and broke the puck into the offensive zone. He came in on the right and cut through the middle of the offensive zone. As he did, three Florida players converged on him. That bought Ovechkin some room as Kuznetsov dropped the pass off. Anton Stralman stayed on Kuznetsov then wheeled to the front, Jonathan Huberdeau was a stop behind Ovechkin and Mark Pysyk saw he was in the middle and tried to overcorrect back to the left. Ovechkin cut through the middle of all of them and shot the puck through Sergei Bobrovsky's 5-hole.

Bobrovsky takes a poor angle

Late in the second period, the Caps were getting shut down on offense. They had only 11 shots on goal and were having trouble generating any sustained offensive pressure.

The game looked like it was headed to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes, but Jonas Siegenthaler backhanded a puck up and out of the zone along the wall.

When Siegenthaler first got the puck, Panik made a break for it out of the defensive zone and was behind four of the Panthers' players when he received the dump-pass from Siegenthaler. He did not have a step on the defense and was forced to remain to the outside by Keith Yandle. Undeterred, Panik took aim and fired from the faceoff dot and managed to beat goalie Soregi Bobrovsky with an absolute snipe.

It was a great shot by Panik to place the puck exactly where it needed to go, but Bobrovsky took a poor angle showing Panik too much of the net on the far post. He knew it right away too as he slammed his stick on the ice in frustration as soon as the goal was scored.

The speed of Vrana and hands of Eller

As Lars Eller skated up the ice, Jakub Vrana streaked up the ice along the boards. Eller found him and he had enough of a step on the defense to get a nice shot away. Bobrovsky made the initial save and kicked out the huge rebound right to Eller. Eller got the puck on his backhand, but waited just slightly to get the puck around diving forward Frank Vatrano. That slight hesitation bought Eller the room he needed to backhand the goal into the net.

Gudas' great pass

Gudas had the puck in the defensive zone looking for the breakout. Brendan Leipsic was already moving along the wall cross-ice and Gudas found him with the nice pass. The pass hit Leipsic in stride allowing him to get a step on the defense. Leipsic tucked the puck through Bobrovsky's 5-hole with the nice backhand.

Braden Holtby

The Caps' puck management in this game was atrocious.  Ill-advised passes and turnovers plagued the offense and made it difficult to generate any sustained pressure. That struggle was most evident in the shots on goal where Florida managed to get 40 shots in on Holtby. That made it a busy night for Holtby in net, but he was up to the task, turning aside 37 of those 40 shots he faced.


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Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

Caps leave All-Star Game with plenty of highlights, but no wins

ST. LOUIS -- There was no All-Star championship for the Metropolitan Division All-Stars this year. The Metro was not able to defend its crown in 2020 as it fell 9-5 to the Atlantic Division in the first game of the All-Star Game tournament on Saturday.

Despite the early loss, the Capitals certainly left their mark on the event. Here were the highlights:

An ovation for Oshie

T.J. Oshie began his NHL career in St. Louis and remains a fan favorite there even now in the midst of his fifth season in Washington. That was evident when Oshie was introduced to the crowd to thunderous applause.

“I think it's a pretty cool story,” Oshie said. “It's something that I'm going to enjoy telling the kids and grandkids down the road. But I think the coolest part for me was just the cheers from the fans when my name was called a couple times there. I enjoyed playing here. I love playing in D.C. though, but I had some good experiences here, some heartbreaks, some pretty good teams we played on. Just to get back here, just kind of crazy that my first All-Star Game ended up being in St. Louis. It was a great weekend, it was fun, the fans were awesome as always.”

The starting lineup

Todd Reirden went with what he knew to start the game as Oshie and John Carlson both started the game with Braden Holtby in net. The only non-Cap to start was New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal.

The Barzal, Oshie, Carlson trio seemed to find some chemistry through the game and Oshie had nothing but positive things to say of the speedy forward after the game.

“Obviously his skill level's off the charts, just skating, his stickhandling and vision on the ice,” Oshie said. “Obviously we would've liked to put up some more goals, but it's nice trying to get open and have him find me than chase him around the ice and just try to not get made a fool of. It was awesome. He's a great kid. It was nice kind of getting to know him off the ice here these last couple days.”

While Oshie wished for more production, that line actually acquitted itself nicely. Oshie recorded one goal and one assist, Carlson had one goal and Barzal had two assists.

Carlson scores a milestone

The Atlantic Division jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Carlson scored the first goal of the game for the Metro.

Holtby broke up a scoring chance for the Atlantic as he blocked a centering pass with his stick which sparked the breakout in the other direction. Carlson and Barzal had a 2-on-1 opportunity and Barzal set up Carlson for the shot past a helpless Frederik Anderson. Oshie recorded a secondary assist on the goal.

That was not just the Caps’ first goal of the game, it was the first goal by a Caps defenseman at the All-Star Game in franchise history, according to the team. Quite the milestone.

“That’s great,” Carlson said. “I guess I had no idea.”

Oshie scores in St. Louis

I mean, he had to, right? His first All-Star game coming in St. Louis, there was no way Oshie was going to walk away from this game without scoring.

The Metro Division cycled in the offensive zone and Seth Jones dropped the puck off to Oshie near the blue line. He cut up the middle then fired a shot to the corner to beat Anderson, making him the eighth player in Caps’ franchise history to score at an All-Star Game.

Coach Osh in the house

Oshie’s family has always been the talk of Washington because of how adorable his daughters are and that was on full display again on Saturday. But it was Oshie’s dad who stole the show.

Oshie’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. That makes traveling very difficult. After Oshie’s goal, however, the broadcast cut to Oshie waving up to his father who had been able to make the trip to St. Louis.

“It's always great to have Coach Osh around,” Oshie said. “He missed our fathers' trip this year, it's kind of hard for him to travel, but we were able to make it work for him to come to St. Louis where a lot of the people you see working down here behind the scenes probably know him better than they know me, so he got to see some old friends. Just special to have him here to witness my first All-Star Game in person.”

Oshie added, “There's certain milestones that I've made in my career that I want him to be a part of if he's able to make it and this was one of them He came to St. Louis quite a bit when I played and he has a lot of friends here, a lot of people that treat him really good as well. This was something that I didn't want him to miss."

Holtby ends on a high-note

Let’s face it, the All-Star Game does not favor the goalies. A 3-on-3 tournament is meant to promote as much scoring as possible. As a result, it is often a tough night for the netminders and that was true for Holtby who made five saves on nine shots in his single period of play. But Holtby was able to end his night on a high note with one of the top saves of the game.

David Pastrnak set up Shea Weber on the far-side for what looked like a lay-up on Holtby, but Holtby was able to stretch the pad for the fantastic toe save to deny Weber.

“It felt good to make a save,” Holtby said.

“It's difficult, but it's fun too,” Holtby said of the 3-on-3 format. “It's challenging. I think guys are starting to figure it out a little bit more with the cross-ice pass and stuff. But it's fun to be a part of.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.


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Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Oshie gets warm All-Star welcome on St. Louis return, scores with dad in attendance

Former St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie was welcomed back to Enterprise Arena fondly by the NHL All-Star crowd that included his family.

At the end of Oshie's entrance on to the ice, the camera showed plenty of Blues players cheering for him. In seven seasons with St. Louis, Oshie played 443 games and tallied 310 points (110 G, 200 A) and a +71 plus/minus rating. He even served as an alternate captain for his final two seasons before being traded to the Capitals for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round draft pick. 

That wasn't all for Oshie's All-Star performance -- he scored 5:29 into the first period to give the Metropolitan Division team a 3-2 lead.

Oshie is the eighth Capitals player in franchise history to score in the NHL All-Star Game.

Oshie's family, including his dad, Tim, affectionately known as "Coach Osh," was in attendance to witness his first All-Star appearance, making the moment even more special.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.