Grubi Great but Panthers beat Caps 3-2 (SO)

Grubi - Eliot J. Schechter

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…

Shootout bullets!

  • 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
  • Orlov pokechecked– yikes
  • Hayes also sent back because no one can score anymoire
  • 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.
derp derp derp of the derp

derp derp derp of the derp

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.


  • Dave

    1. Can Grabo and Green switch contracts? Pretty please???
    2. I like Neuvy, but it’s time to trade him. Grubrauer looks an inexpensive, viable replacement.
    3. Orlov needs to stay in the top 4. When Erskine comes back, he better not get more than bottom pair minutes.
    4. Grabo needs to replace Ovi in the #2 shootout spot.

  • beny485

    Can you make a gruby gruby gru shirt

  • Joben

    It’s time to remove the defensive cancer that is Mike Green before he metastasizes.

  • William

    1.As good as Grubauer has been, I’m not ready to replace him. Maybe we should take it a bit slow.

    2. Grabo needs to be in the 2nd Shootout slot

    3. Dima has been awesome as all rmnbers anticipated. #Toldya’

    4. Nick is as slick as ever

  • Bob

    Getting out worked on the boards all game was giving me a headache, I really wish the caps had the speed that Florida does. Those guys made Chimmer look slow. Loved that move by Orlov at the end of OT and really liked his play all game. At least we got a point but have to battle more against the flyers on Sunday.

  • Red

    Can someone explain why Green keeps getting top minutes?? My annoyance with him has transformed into anger at the coaching staff. The man is clearly struggling (to put it lightly). Give him some time off, let him figure out what the hell is going on, and bring him back when he’s ready to play hockey again. This needs to happen because a) his confidence is dissipating with every game and b) he’s a huge liability on the ice. I’m starting to cringe whenever Mike touches the puck. I don’t want to do that.

    Dima meanwhile, absolutely tore it up tonight. I will speak for everyone on this site and tell Oates: Told you so!

    The peanut butter-covered dog analogy is fantastic.

  • gwenkaylor

    I enjoyed the writeup much more than I did this game, excepting of course Gruby’s fantastics…

  • On Florida’s second goal, Green was really soft. That was bad. Shame on him for that. But he also (technically) scored the game’s first goal (which was waved off bizarrely) and had a team high of shots with five.

    If the Caps are going to go anywhere in the playoffs, he needs to be in a good place. The coaching staff should show him some confidence and keep putting him out there. He’ll get out of this funk. He’s too good not to.

  • JenniferH

    I think the ref mess-up in the first 5 minutes threw our guys off, just ripped the momentum right out of us and made us wary. Calls against us, and calls for the other team. And then when Nicky scored, we finally got that momentum back and them boom! there was that long delay because of the glass needing to be fixed which killed the momentum again! I’m not saying it’s the best excuse, but it’s true. Our mojo was really messed with.

    Nicky was great (but, yeah, he’s a rock). I continue to love Gruby and I’d prefer him as back-up to Holtby over Neuvy personally. And I heartily enjoyed that long shot of Holtby on bench while talking about the upcoming Philly game!! (Showing my hockey newbie-ness still, though, I had to look up who Ron Hextal was, lol, to see if that was a good or bad thing.)

    I’m glad Wardo got that 2nd goal. Orlov had some fantastic moves. He needs to stay, Oates! Grabo is wonderful. The shootout was nerve-wracking and I really wish it had gone our way. I love Ovi, but I don’t understand why he gets the 2nd shootout slot over Grabo. Argggh! Takes a deep breath. I’m happy that Fehr was back out on ice and appears to be fine.

    I’m glad we got the point, but I wish we’d won the game in regulation. Duh. We all do. I still have hope we can bring this home, we have 50 some games left to get it done. Let’s just get Marty (and possibly Neuvy) traded for some more experienced defense and get Greenie back on track and we can do this. I believe.


  • Freedoooom

    He only had one option try to get it to Grabovski. Erat wasn’t open, Karl specifically skated in a direction to not be open, then gave Barkov the inside of the ice.

  • Dave

    It’s worrying that the majority of blog commenters seemed to know more about Orlov and Fehr than Oates.

    “Oh yeah, well I made Ovechkin an MVP and Richard trophy winner again”, he would retort, I assume…

  • Red

    For anyone who was wondering what Joe and Craig were giggling at during the glass change @ the arena. It’s pretty funny .

  • Freedoooom

    Backstrom sucked.

    He stood around did nothing in the defensive end the whole damn game, and that turn over at the end of the 3rd, he had the damn blue line, no one in front of him, and does a back hand pass to no one.

  • Red

    Is there a way to vote you up and the graph down?

  • northernMD

    Orlov played great. just in time for oates to bench him for esrkine……

  • Red

    I’ve had this discussion many times, so I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me, but I’m of the mind that a defenseman’s primary responsibility should be defense. Any offensive contribution he brings to the table is a BONUS. If Mike had scored 2 goals tonight, I would still be upset because he failed his primary objective. The reason we are losing games is not because we can’t score; we have plenty guys who are more than capable of that. We lose because we have horrific defense, at the center of which is Mike Green – a veteran eating up massive minutes, while criminally underperforming.
    Don’t even get me started on the Norris trophy which ALWAYS goes to the dman with the most goals. Poppycock.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Johansson. SHOOT THE DAMN PUCK!! Of course he doesn’t in the shootout.

  • Matt

    Yes, because one turnover much more important than a goal, an assist, and a shootout goal.

  • Myan

    Are you serious? He scored a goal and got the assist on the tying goal. He scored in the shootout. He won 53% of his faceoffs. Did you watch the same game the rest of us did?

  • Myan

    Jeez our overall possession was 38.9%. We showed up for about 5 minutes and then just let them beat us on the forecheck.

  • Joey Doukmetzian

    Is anyone else worried about the fact that we only have 10 ROW wins and 17 actual wins?

  • Dave

    I think this means we need to start lobbying for shootouts to decide playoff games too… Wait a minute! Lobbying?? Washington?? We can do this!!!

  • Myan

    Are you kidding? Green had about 12 feet of open ice in front of him. Instead of keeping it for himself along the boards and going for an indirect pass, he could have easily passed it over to Alzner, played it behind the net, etc. He made a shitty decision and it cost us. Once Barkov went other way, he could have lined up vs the puck instead of lining up against the man. He could have stepped up on Barkov instead of trying the poke check.

  • Michael Reschly

    Two things:

    1. At least Orlov’s shootout attempt was better than his prevous:

    2. What would explain AV24 get 25% more shifts / 3 minutes more ice time than TW43?



    Best player on the ice tonight for the caps. Kid is a stud


    “If the caps are going to go anywhere in the playoffs, he needs to be in a good place”

    Yea like they have the last 6 years with him right? Time for the caps to cut their losses and bench him or give him limited minutes then either buy him out of his final year or find one of the 8-10 GM’s worse than Mcphee who will trade for him.

  • Graham Dumas

    I WANT to feel that way too, but I think Oates was right last presser when he noted that the game has evolved to where the D needs to be involved in O to make it a complete 5×5 game. Otherwise, teams play such strong D in their zones that you can’t get pucks on the net with just three forwards and two lumps up top.

    However, Green’s play must change. He must get stronger on D, or he must sit.


    He makes far to many mistakes consistently on the back end which provides a HUGE net negative (in conjunction with offense) for his team. For that reason, he must sit.

  • Graham Dumas

    Something certainly has to change.

  • liquid8d

    This was just weak. We’ve got to be more physical, particularly in our zone. They literally ran circles around the Caps throughout the game. The waved off goal was a joke. Props to Grubauer, that was one heck of a performance.


    In previous years, you could overlook these defensive woes but the guy has 1 goal this year on the offensive side. Its rather atrocious.

  • Jack Conness

    Unfortunately, had to miss the game. I was stuck at work. Ironic story here…

    I work for the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Dylan Olsen played for the IceHogs all season and then eventually he and Hayes got traded to Florida. Olsen played for their AHL affiliate for awhile but was called up just recently. To get a text seeing that he scored the 1st goal was…an odd surprise.

    Sorry for the tale. With that said, it sounded like Green sucked and Orlov kicked ass tonight. It also sounded like the whole team sucked in general and we should be happy escaping with a point. With that being said, these are games the Caps have to win. No excuses.

  • Owen Johnson

    I think he was just blinded by the Isle’s horrible 3rd sweaters

  • Matt

    Can we switch Mike Green to Wing?

  • kyle boyd

    “The Caps set up a new Indus Valley Civilization in the Panthers zone the game’s first 6 minutes, but then something happened and they never went back.”

    im sorry, i would like to apologize to everyone here. that was me. watched the first period up until the carlson double minor and then met friends at the bar. killed the seat mojo

  • Graham Dumas

    Somewhere Peter just had a coronary after you suggested the plus-minus stat had value… 🙂

  • Rhino40

    Sucky outcome, but as always a good post Peter.

    I think it also bears mentioning that Green’s shot from the point early in the first was not the only Caps’ goal to be disallowed last night. Also in the first, Ovie tapped in a puck that squirted through Clemenson (sp?), but a very quick whistle would nullify that. IMO, if either of those gets counted, the game’s outcome is very different.

    Grubi was awesome…Like the Second Coming of Kolzig (Son of Godzilla, maybe?) More performances like this and I smell a new shirt coming: A handful of angry-looking Minions all geared up and sporting red sweaters, with the caption “We Work For Gru“. Make it happen?

    Also like the dog-and-peanut butter reference–as the proud owner of an American Brown Dog, I can attest to having first-hand experience with this.

    Time to get ready for war…

  • Rhino40

    Don’t you mean “MOARlov”?