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Yandle's bizarre penalty, Caps find Panthers' weakness and Holtby's league-leading win

Yandle's bizarre penalty, Caps find Panthers' weakness and Holtby's league-leading win

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals and Florida Panthers kept things close all game long, but a two-goal third period for Washington allowed the Caps to narrowly escape with the 4-3 win.

Check out a recap of the game here.

Observations from the win

Speed along the wall

The Caps definitely saw something in the Panthers' defense they wanted to exploit which is why each of the last three goals all looked similar. Washington wanted to attack Florida's defense with speed along the wall. On the second goal, Richard Panik took off when he saw Jonas Siegenthaler had the puck and was wheeling around the net. Siegenthaler got it to him and, while the defense kept him to the outside, Panik was able to fire a shot from the faceoff dot to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

On the third goal, Lars Eller skated into the neutral zone and Jakub Vrana streaked up 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 who shot it into the net.

Leipsic contributed the fourth goal as he skated up the boards and Radko Gudas hit him in stride allowing him to get a step on the defense. Leipsic tucked the puck through Bobrovsky's 5-hole with the nice backhand.

A weird penalty

Florida defenseman Keith Yandle took a penalty in the final minute of the game and it was a strange one. Eller was looking for a new stick from the bench and Caps' head equipment manager Brock Myles tried to hand it to him. Yandle was right next to the becnh as this was happening and whacked the stick away not once, but twice taking the interference penalty.

"Eller broke his stick off the draw and then he's coming to the bench to get a new stick and he grabbed the stick, but he was right next to the bench," Reirden said. "Yandle was there and he knocked it out of his hands."

I am not sure I have ever seen a player get a penalty for trying to knock away a stick from an equipment manager. Kudos to Myles for drawing the penalty.

Turning point

The Caps were not able to build off the momentum from Alex Ovechkin's goal or Panik's goal. Once Eller scored, however, the Caps finally looked like they were in control. That shot by Vrana? That was definitely an intentional pass. He shot it looking for the rebound to go to Eller.

Play of the game

Evgeny Kuznetsov drew the defense with him giving Alex Ovechkin enough room to deke and shoot.

Also, you have to give credit to former Cap Brett Connolly. This was a pretty breakaway goal.

Stat of the game

Given the way the season started, did anyone think Braden Holtby would be tied for the league lead in wins at Thanksgiving? I didn't.

Quote of the game

Penalties have been a problem for the Caps this season. As Reirden was describing the bizarre Yandle penalty, he could not help but give a bit of a shot to his own team.

"For a change it was an undisciplined penalty by the opposition that helped decide that game."

Fan predictions

Well, you got the Caps' goals right. Four for the Caps and one for Ovechkin.

Caps actually gave up 40 shots on goal and only took 20. No posts. Washington won and only Ovechkin got a goal from that list. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

Oh and happy birthday!

I love this bit.

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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.

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