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Panthers Wrap-Up: Capitals 5, Panthers 0

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 0 0 0 0
Capitals 1 2 2 0 5
WSH - T. Brouwer (4), PP - T. Brouwer (5), J. Ward (5), A. Ovechkin (4), M. Perreault (1)

WASHINGTON D.C. — The Washington Capitals entered Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers with specific instructions from their general manager: stop taking penalties and stop letting in goals.

The Capitals went 2-for-2, and decided to score some too.

"They were obviously a desperate team, but at least we could have made a game out of it. The frustrating part is we didn't give ourselves a chance and we've done that too many times this season. We knew they would come out and needed the points as bad as we did. We needed to match them. We didn't."

- Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell to the Miami Herald.
1. An Early Capitals Storm: Coming into the game, the Panthers knew that the Capitals would work for a strong start as Washington hasn't had the normal start of the season that their fans have become accustomed to. The Capitals had a league low five points in their first 11 games and sat at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. With that, they came out strong just like was thought as they kept the Panthers in the defensive zone for the majority of the first. Florida was able to weather that storm and took over play for a little bit, actually outshooting the Capitals 10-8 in the first. Both Kris Versteeg (on the rush) and Tomas Kopecky (on a wrap-around) chance had the Panthers best chances in the first but couldn't solve Braden Holtby who entered the game with a 4.74 goals against average.

2. Panther Mistakes: Yes Florida held the shot advantage after one but they trailed thanks to a Panthers turnover. Jerred Smithson looked to clear the puck with a backhand from behind the net but was intercepted by John Carlson. The defenseman's shot was redirected by Troy Brouwer past Jose Theodore with 2:15 remaining in the first. Then in the second Brouwer was set up on a break on the power play by Holtby with the Panthers in the middle of a line change and ripped a shot past Theodore top shelf 3:36 in. The Caps third goal came with the Panthers being outworked as the puck dug out and Joel Ward pounced on it and ripped a shot past Theodore at the 11:55 mark of the second. In the third, Alex Ovechkin intercepted a pass off a face-off and once again beat Theodore 3:49 in.

3. Continued Problems In Nation's Capital: With the way Florida has been playing in the last four-five games, it's surprising at the outcome, especially with a struggling team in the opposing locker room. But it was just one of those games where the Panthers were outworked, which can't happen since they pride themselves on being a hard working team. The Panthers haven't had success in D.C., winning in just twice in their last 11 games and falling in their last six straight. Not a great end to an otherwise good road trip in which the Panthers took five out of eight points in some very difficult buildings.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@IcingPanthers: So sad ... @FlaPanthers can do so much better

@JRMcNulty24: Why do the @FlaPanthers always play so bad in DC!? Oh well, get em back on Tuesday #FlaPanthers #redrising

@_MaxSchwartz: That was ugly #FlaPanthers

@nytewatchyr: Wish Dineen had left the Mueller-Shore-Hubey & VFW lines alone. Thoughts as to why the change? #FlaPanthers

Memorable fan posts from the game.

Kenneth Andersson: Horrible. Just horrible.

Tj Gardungle: We still had a decent long road trip. Still looking for our groove. Play has been a on/off switch for us.

Tino Perez: Forget the road trip we just stunk tonight that's not the way you lose

Carlos Gustavo Dempaire: Goal tending was horrible, defense was horrible- pathetic

1. It only took one shot for the Capitals to score on their first power play of the game as Troy Brouwer recorded his second of the game thanks to the setup from netinder Braden Holtby early in the second.

2. Picking up the assist on the Capitals second goal, Holtby registered his second career NHL helper. On the other end, Jose Theodore picked up a minor penalty for interference. The netminder has recorded a minor penalty in each of the two previous seasons.

4. The number four represented a game high for the Panthers in two different categories. Tomas Fleischmann led the way with four shots and Mike Weaver had a team-high four blocked shots. Jack Skille had four hits but that was one shy of Erik Gudbranson's team-high.

5. The Panthers allowed at least five goals for the third time this season in the first 12 games. They also allowed five against Tampa Bay on Jan. 29 and gave up a season-high seven to Philadelphia on Jan. 26.

10. Recording five goals, the Capitals got production from over half their skaters (10). They had four different goal scorers and three different skaters finish with multiple points; Brouwer (2 Goals), Joel Ward (Goal, Assist) and Matthieu Perreault (Goal, Assist)

Braden Holtby
A lot of saves were one and done but made saves when he had to in keeping Panthers off the board. Also sprung Brouwer on power play to give Capitals 2-0 lead early in second.

 27 Shots 27 Saves, 1.000 SV%, 1 Assist
Florida finally returns home after a four-game road trip and they'll be in Sunrise for the next week and a half as they play host to a four-game homestand. The first one up will be a revenge game as the Panthers and Capitals do battle for the second straight contest. The Cats will look to flip the outcome on the Caps as the two battle it out in the Southeast Division.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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