Caps beat Panthers 6-5 (OT), Felt Like a Fehr Night

Eliot J. Schechter

Photo credit: Eliot J. Schechter

The Washington Capitals schlepped down to that bustling metropolis of Sunrise to face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. It was classic Caps hockey: dumb penalties, tons of goals, a nominal interest in defense.

Mike Ribeiro found the puck on the weak side to score an early power play goal, but then Tomas Fleischmann banked a shot off John Erskine’s skates to even it up. Shawn Matthias knocked in a go-ahead goal for the Cats from high in the slot. Karl Alzner scored a nasty slapper off the faceoff to knot the score at 2. Let me repeat that: Karl Alzner scored a goal. Peter Mueller Huberdeau bounced a flubbery puck past Braden Holtby, but then Matt Hendricks got a rebound of his own. Jonathan Huberdeau exploited some bad defense to make it 4-3 Florida. Holtby bobbled a loose puck to give Drew Shore his first NHL goal — after a review from Toronto. Eric Fehr finally made it onto the scoresheet with a tip-in just five minutes before the end of regulation. Alex Ovechkin ripped a tying goal off the faceoff during a late-game power play.

And then Troy Brouwer won it in OT on a breakaway. Cause that’s how this team gets down.

Caps beat Panthers 6-5 (OT).

  • Wild one. Caps hockey. Dig it.
  • Alex Ovechkin delivered a good hit to Kris Versteeg‘s shoulders early in the first. Versteeg went down in pain, but returned to the ice a shift later to deliver a cheapshot cross-check on Ovechkin and start a kinda/sorta fight. In addition to making Versteeg look like an injury-faker (and a generally unaware hockey player), the ensuing power play gave the Caps a tasty PP goal– so pretty much bad all around for Versteeg.
  • I’ve been told there is some confusion over my goal report. The Caps’ second goal was scored by Mr. Karl Adolphus Alzner, a hockey player for Washington Capitals hockey club. It was only the fifth for the stay-at-home defenseman. That goal was made possible by rare candy: a Caps’ faceoff win in the offensive zone.
  • The Caps have had some bad team defense of late, and there was no better illustration of that than the 3-on-0  Panthers’ rush in the second. Luckily Braden Holtby was able to tap into whatever Iron Fist and Shang-Chi tap into to stop the attack. Stunning work in the paint.
  • Despite the DoG and goals-against count, Holtby was pretty great tonight. Now if only he could get his team to play defense in front of him…
  • The Capitals gave Florida three power plays in the first period alone, including another dang delay of game call. The Capitals PK unit isn’t totally rancid, but all that time spent in their own zone (sometimes feebly) really dries up the offense. The kind of Capitals who win are the kind who shoot a lot. The third period Caps figured that out, but the Matts teamed up for two more minors in the third that came close to denying the team their comeback.
  • News came in that Scott Howson was fired from his job as general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets. I know that sounds like bad news, but anytime someone leaves Columbus that’s a victory for all mankind. But now the Columbus Maw demands to be fed. Someone dry-rub Brian Burke and put him in a hot box.
  • Behindthenet.ca’s Fenwick chart for tonight’s game isn’t up yet, but I can tell you the Caps flatlined for a big portion. The Capitals caught up to win even-strength shots 26-23, but they went shotless for over 12 minutes in the first. The foot-on-the-gas metaphor comes to mind.
Joe B suit of the night

Joe B suit of the night

The state of the Caps is a lot like the State of the Union. There’s a lot of good stuff going on, but some jackholes still can’t get their acts together long enough to really achieve anything significant. Don’t get me wrong: huge win, but there’s still work to do.

The Capitals are atrocious at defense: particularly clearing traffic and breaking out, but also unforced penalties like a holding call when John Erskine can’t keep up with the rush or Holtby’s nine-iron delay of game.

But the offense is alive and crackalacking. Both Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin are on scoring streaks. Troy Brouwer is a star. The Caps have real offense for the first time in a very long time; they’re just waiting for the other half of the team to come to life.

They’ll have their chance on Thursday night against the struggling Lightning in Tampa Bay. Unless that city falls into the sea before then. I’m fine either way.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    Caps win!!!! (in spite of Braden Holtby)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I tweet this: https://twitter.com/ianoland/status/301521840940126209 Caps score three unanswered goals. Peace, Voldemort! It’s been real.

  • TorontoCapsFan

    Most enjoyable Caps game of the year by a landslide!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jesstaleff Jess Taleff

    *in spite of the defenders

  • Akay15

    D is struggling but I LOVED the sense of urgency tonight! And RMNB I love that I can immediately go to this site once the game is over and get my fill of blogging gold. You guys make me laugh, even in losses!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Woulda been even better if they denied the Panthers a standings point

  • Brouwer Rangers

    I am disappointed in the lack of gif of whoever that was face-planting coming off the bench.

  • jennrubenstein

    huberdeau is fun to say.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    huberdeauhuberdeauhuberdeauhuberdeauhuberdeauhuberdeauhuberdeau

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    PATIENCE

  • sean

    Great finish and all that offense stuff, but right now I would trade every d-man and half the forwards for 4 Charas.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Thanks– I feel like I’m off my game tonight, so I doubly appreciate the words.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    Holtby is not our solution in net. And anyone who thinks otherwise has to explain how this team can reasonably be expected to overcome a 2 (or more) goal handicap each game. People may not like to hear it, and may want to shift attention elsewhere, but it’s a valid concern.

  • Yv

    Looks like FLA fans still protesting. Ugly win with beautiful comeback, but maybe it is a sign of turning around? Caps still in the last place and need major reinforcement in all departments to be in contention. Smartly Ovi didn’t throw punches, otherwise we should forget about those one-timers.

  • serpent

    Sounds like something you’d order at a New Orleans deli.

  • Phil

    Please….at least two of the goals Holtby could do absolutely nothing about. Not even broduer could stop a puck he thought was going ten feet wide then deflects off your own defender…or a shot that is going wide then deflects twice. Holtby kept us in the game, especially when there were 2-0 and 4-0 rushes by FLA.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I agree with Phil. Holtby was fed to the wolves by his D on at least two occasions that led to goals. He should stop pucks, but the D shouldn’t let him face shots like that– particularly ones where FLA players occupied the slot without any trouble.

  • Snow-Ape

    Mother of citrus! The writing on this site is outstanding… makes me laugh win or lose and calls a spade a spade. CRASH THE NET.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Aww thanks. I’ve been really down on my recaps lately, so I really appreciate the kind words.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    I mean has it really come to a point where our goalie lets up 5 goals against the 3rd worst team in the league and its considered that he “was pretty great tonight”? Sorry guys, I’m just not buying it.
    I also disagree with your premise. Isn’t the definition of a good (or great) goalie precisely the kind of goalie who holds the line when his D fails him?

    I mean do we have numbers to bear it out? How many times has the D failed and Holtby made a save vs. how many times has the D failed and Holtby didnt make a save.

    To my untrained eyes it just seems like he lets up way too many goals you would otherwise expect an NHL caliber goaltender to save. Which in my mind feels like we’re always playing with a 2 goal handicap. And with a team that averages 2-3 goals per game, thats not acceptable.