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Capitals vs. Panthers Recap: Cats Scratch Caps in 4-1 Loss

A sluggish Caps team gets bitten by penalties and some general lackluster play

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

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A lengthy delay to kick off tonight's festivities should have been a sign that this would not be a normal outing, and it definitely was not normal, as the Caps looked sluggish at times, undisciplined at others and generally incapable of getting much momentum going. The result? Just a bad night all around

Here's Thursday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Despite getting lit up by three goals, Philipp Grubauer was pretty good when given a chance and really can't be blamed for any of the ones he gave up. Considering he's been off for a few weeks, that's basically what you want to see.
  • Minus: Penalty troubles. The Caps committed a boatload of infractions tonight, capped off by a five-minute major for Tom Wilson, and it definitely contributed to the lack of flow.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Strange start to the festivities tonight, as puck drop was delayed about 15 minutes because the paramedics who were required to be at the arena had to leave to attend to a nearby accident. Hard to be too upset when that's the reason.
  • There may have been a lengthy delay to start the game, but there wasn't much of a wait for the game's first goal, which went in the Panthers' favor less than a minute into the first period. And of course it came off of the stick of - who else? - Jaromir Jagr. That goal snapped a personal six-game scoring drought against his former squad (good memories), and moved him up the all-time list of old guys who scored a lot.
  • Marcus Johansson came ohsoclose to tying the game with a chance right in front of the net, but the toe of Al Montoya (and seemingly some sort of divine intervention) made sure it stayed 1-0.
  • There must have been some sort of weird gravitational pull coming from the penalty box, because the Caps maintained a constant parade to the sin bin for much of the first half of the game. Four different boys in white took that walk of shame before the second period was over...
  • ...and it finally cost them when a bullet from the point by Brandon Pirri beat Philipp Grubauer, Alex Ovechkin in the box serving a high-sticking minor. Play with fire enough and you're going to get burned... and the Caps got burned.
  • Of course, the Panthers made sure to take a few penalties of their own, giving the Caps plenty of chances with the extra man in what was an infraction-filled game from start to finish. Florida actually averages about three more penalty minutes per game than the Caps, so one side of this penalty parade was slightly more expected than the other.
  • All of those chances with the extra man resulted in just one power-play goal by either side, Florida's second of the night, which is surprising considering that the Caps have what is occasionally a pretty decent power play. Y'know, from time to time.
  • Speaking of penalties, the Caps took a doozy of a penalty early in the third period when Tom Wilson decided it would be fun to check Brian Campbell from behind, earning himself a five-minute major and an early start on the showers. Not the smartest of plays, and it definitely deserved a penalty...but one wonders if he still gets a major and a misconduct if a) his name isn't Tom Wilson and b) Brian Campbell decides to protect himself and maybe NOT face the boards even after realizing Wilson is en route. But alas, no use playing the "if" game now.
  • Just when you thought the 2-0 deficit would be too much to overcome the way the Caps were playing, that major (even with two minutes shaved off for yet another Panther penalty) did end up costing them, as Aaron Ekblad cashed in on a two-on-one to put the Cats up by three. Aaaaand scene.
  • Thank god for Ovechkin and his late goal, because getting shut out by Al Montoya would be embarrassing. Full stop.

The Caps' fathers are so going to ground them after that one. Put it in the compost heap and move on to the next Florida-based foe.

And now, this...

Ovi Mojo collision

The night in a nutshell.

Game highlights: