Photo: Eliot J. Schechter
Friday night’s game between the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals could have been an exciting reunion of two former division rivals. Instead, the Capitals put up an uneven effort, and relied on special teams to keep up with a Florida team that was curiously strong on the puck. Grubauer kept the Caps alive despite a lot of action, earning the team a point in sixty-five minutes, but not the decision.
Scoreless through twenty, Dylan Olsen (who?) finally hit the back of the net after unlimited zone time for the Cats. Nick Backstrom tied the game during 4v4, but– wait for it– Florida scored soon after thanks to a bad Mike Green turnover and bad Mike Green D coverage. Joel Ward crushed the nut to re-tie the game late in the second, though that one required video review.
The third was pointless, so everybody got a pity point and we headed into OT, but that never does anything, so…. again…
- Fehr converted a nice wrister
- Barkov looked like a jerk and got swept away
- Ovi hardly got a shot off
- Huberdeau had a long reach and beat Grubi
- Backstrom fumbled it, then did the exact same move as Huberdeau
- Grubi got a piece of Boyes, but didn’t stop it
- GraboGraboGraboGraboGraboGrabo five-hole
- Bjugstad had speed and stopped on a dime to put it in
- Brouwer rang post
- Kulikov rang post because why not
- Erat refused on a sly move
- Flash’s shot no match for Grubi’s stick
- Johansson had some weird moves and an unconvincing backhand
- Upshall rejected on the wide backhand attempt
- THIS IS GOING LONG
- Orlov pokechecked– yikes
- Hayes also sent back because no one can score anymoire
- SOMEBODY SCORE
- Ward’s shot got blocked a giant bald head or something, maybe just a weird camera angle
- Goc missed or something I dunno I am kind of blacking out at this point
- Chimera– and I’m just guessing here– is not gonna score, nope he does not, typical
- Kopecky wins it thank goodness at this point I’m ready to be done
Panthers beat Caps 3-2 in the Shootout.
- Mike Green‘s stinky turnover before the second Florida goal was no good, but his stinky coverage was even worse. Green all but surrendered the slot to Aleksander Barkov, giving him a clear shooting alley and a great chance to restore the lead. That goal came about 90 seconds after Nicky Backstrom‘s score, so… yeah, that’s still happening.
- The Caps set up a new Indus Valley Civilization in the Panthers zone during the game’s first 6 minutes, but then something happened and they never went back. After 6:30, the Caps had one shot attempt in the first period. The second period was more of the same until Nicky B, the man, woke the Caps up with a sweet goal set up by Mikhail Grabovski. Grabo and Nick don’t get to play together too much, but daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn.
- The Caps’ indifference to offence deserves another bullet. It took a scary-ass hit on Eric Fehr and an extended power play to get them interested in offense. Like when your dog won’t take its medicine even though it’s covered in peanut butter so you have to eat a whole bunch of peanut butter and act like “oh my gosh this peanut butter is great you should have some” and then they finally do. That’s what this was like, except with hockey instead of dogs.
- Eric Fehr returned to the game in the third period. Eric Fehr is awesome.
- The entire section between the teams’ benches was empty. Florida hockey, folks.
- Philipp Grubauer got the start in Sunrise, which should not be a surprise. Playing against one of the worst shooting teams in the league is a good way to get a rookie goalie some repetitions. We’ve been asked a few times if Grubi’s usage lately (Holtby’s understudy in a B2B, relieving him vs the Lightning, and Friday) means anything for the goalie depth chart. No. No, it does not. Braden Holtby is still the dude, and you can bank on him getting compared to Ron Hextall endlessly on Sunday afternoon.
- The Caps let their goalie get buried in pucks again. Grubi had faced 35 with 15 minutes left in the game. This is the Worst Thing. Grubi had to reach deep into his Grubag of tricks to make some excellent saves.
- Fehr-Grabo-Brouwer didn’t score. I am disappoint. #TheBank is broke.
- Tom Wilson got smoked in possession– on for like 29 Florida shot attempts and just 5 for the Caps. On the other end of the spectrum, Dmitry Orlov was 9 and 8, and he was kinda fantastic in OT. Playing like this, he’s gonna own that Caps sweater for the foreseeable future.
- I feel duty-bound to mention that Nick Backstrom had another two-point game, but that’s hardly newsworthy these days. The guy is a rock.
- Joel Ward took a nasty feet-first bounce off the boards late in the third. He was smarting on the bench, so we’ll keep an eye on that.
Okay, not the best performance, but it turned out okay I guess. The Caps were lucky to get even a point of out this one considering their dreary performance in the first 40. They’re gonna need a bit more gumption on Sunday. The Flyers are coming to town, and I have a feeling they’ll be cranky. Might be a good time for Big John Erskine to make a comeback.
And let’s please get the thing finished in sixty minutes for once.
Have a safe weekend, everybody. We’ll see you back here on Sunday afternoon. The game will start pretty much as soon as you turn off football in disgust.
Here’s Ms. Carter. Goodnight, folks.