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The Panthers put two goals past Philipp Grubauer in each of the first two periods and that outburst proved to be too much for the Alex Ovechkin-less Capitals to overcome. In a game that featured 12 minor penalties it was Florida's two power play goals that sparked their early offensive and allowed them to pick up tonight's win comfortably.
First up, here's Tuesday night's Plus/Minus:
- Plus: Hopefully this was the game Washington needed to shake the rust off after a period of playing only one game over the past 13 days.
- Minus: With eight power plays on the night this was certainly a game you'd like to have Ovechkin in the lineup for. NHL rules.
Ten more notes on the game.
- Ovechkin was held out of the contest because NHL rules mandate a one game suspension for any player who declines to attend the All-Star game. Despite tonight's result this was still the correct call. Hopefully Ovechkin's well rested legs can lead the team to victory on Thursday night.
- Jonathan Huberdeau got the Panthers on the board first, taking a Jaromir Jagr wrap around pass and firing home his ninth goal of the year. The play started in Florida's own zone and after breaking out their forwards were able to control the puck in the offensive zone and get it to Huberdeau for the finish from the slot.
- Washington was moving their feet early and they forced Florida to take five penalties through the opening twenty minutes. That included two separate 5 on 3 opportunities, the second of which had more than its fair share of chances, but no luck.
- The Panthers, however, had no trouble with their own 5 on 3 chance which allowed Aleksander Barkov to extend the visitor's lead to two. With amply time and space between the dots Barkov made no mistake, firing the puck up and over Grubauer.
- Vincent Trocheck kept the visiting team rolling with a goal less than thirty seconds into the start of the second period. A snapshot from a terrible angle found its way through Grubauer's pads and stunned a Verizon Center eager for a reason to cheer.
- Before the second period came to an end Huberdeau had furthered Florida's lead to four with a deep snap shot that used the crossbar to beat Grubauer. The organ music played and the game was effectively over.
- The Capitals did give their remaining fans something to cheer about early in the third period, first Nicklas Backstrom tallying 34 seconds into the frame with help from Evgeny Kuznetsov and TJ Oshie.
- And right after that Andre Burakovsky kept the fans happy with a wicked snapshot from the slot that shaved Al Montoya's right armpit. The goal was scored on the forward's eighth shot of the night.
- Quinton Howden added an empty net goal to at the game's 58 minute mark to clinch the victory for Florida.
- Capitals defenseman Taylor Chorney left the game because of flu-like symptoms, as reported by Craig Laughlin of CSN. Hopefully Chorney's only absence will be tonight's third period.