WASHINGTON – The Capitals battled back from an early two-goal deficit to earn a point after trailing for most of the game, but they ultimately fell 5-4 in overtime to the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
It’s tough to beat a goalie as good as Roberto Luongo if you give him a two-goal lead to play with. The Caps did their best with two goals in the third period to tie the game at 4 and earn a hard-fought point. They came up just short, however, thanks to a Mike Hoffman's overtime goal.
Here are five reasons the Caps lost.
The Caps had a good start to the game, but that was all erased by an offensive-zone trip by T.J. Oshie. The penalty kill looked pretty good until just when the penalty expired and Frank Vatrano shot in a loose puck from the slot. The goal came one second after the power play.
Just 35 seconds later, Keith Yandle fired a shot from the blue line that deflected off of the stick of T.J. Oshie, bounced off the ice and completely handcuffed Braden Holtby.
The Caps went from feeling pretty good about how they were playing to being down by two in just 35 seconds.
Two quick responses
Washington was playing from behind for the majority of the game. If you want to come back from a two-goal deficit, you have to be able to both score and keep the opponent from responding. Twice in the game, the Caps managed to pull within one and twice, the Panthers responded quickly to restore the two-goal lead.
Brett Connolly got Washington on the board in the second period by deflecting a pass from Andre Burakovsky into the net. Less than five minutes later, Colton Sceviour deflected a shot from Aaron Ekblad down past Holtby. The deflection was absolutely brutal and had Holtby sliding in the wrong direction.
The second period ended on a high note as Lars Eller made the score 3-2 with 41 seconds remaining. Just seven seconds into the third, however, Derick Brassard again gave the Panthers a two-goal lead with his rebound goal.
Washington did ultimately tie the game and earn a point by forcing overtime, but they made life hard on themselves by giving up the early two goals and allowing Florida to respond so many times.
A rough moment for Michal Kempny
Washington trailed by only one heading into the third period. That deficit became two again after an embarrassing blunder by Michal Kempny.
Nicklas Backtrom won the opening faceoff and fed it back to Kempny. Kempny initially controlled the puck, but feeling the pressure from Evgeni Dadanov, he lost control and then lost his balance and fell as he tried to find the puck. Dadanov skated in and shot on Holtby who made the initial save easy enough, but he did not freeze the puck and swept it away with his stick right to Derick Brassard who shot home the rebound.
A bad slash
Connolly had a heck of a night with his second career three-point game (2 goals, 1 assist), but he also cost the Caps big when he was called for slashing with just 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
Aleksander Barkov was skating up with the puck when Connolly knocked his stick from his hands with a chop for an obviously slash. It came in the offensive zone and was an unnecessary play that ended up costing Washington the game as Hoffman scored in overtime on the resulting power play.
On a night in which Holtby played in his 400th NHL game, Roberto Luongo celebrated the 1,000th start of his storied career. He made sure it was a win with a number of great saves including robbing Andre Burakovsky with the glove early in the first.
Luongo made 26 saves to earn the 483rd win over his career, good for fourth all-time and pulling him one within Ed Belfour.
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