The Capitals returned to home ice after last night’s overtime win in Detroit to face the Florida Panthers, losers of three straight contests. But tonight’s Panthers squad was sharp and they outskated their hosts on the way to an easy 4 to 1 victory.
Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:
Plus: Christian Djoos, while not perfect tonight, tallied his (and the Washington blueline’s) second goal of the season with a nifty move and snap shot from in tight. Despite the young rearguard’s shortcomings he is certainly managing to produce offense from his position, which is something this team needs.
Minus: The first period. Washington yielded to Florida’s offense early (less than ninety seconds into the game) and again thirty seconds before closing out the frame. And this despite outshooting Florida 16 to 7 through those twenty minutes.
Ten more notes on the game.
- Connor Brickley lit the lamp behind Philipp Grubauer to give the visiting team an early lead with a quick shot from a foot above the crease.
- Brickley’s goal was created by Jared McCann who picked an easy puck off of Djoos (who appeared timid early) from behind the net. McCann quickly dished a backhand pass cross crease for Brickley’s deposit.
- Evgenii Dadonov snapped a shot home from the slot to bring audible groans from Capital One Arena less than a minute before the first intermission. With Tom Wilson break-dancing atop Grubauer’s crease the shift Dadonov made a move to his left and put the puck right for his goal.
- At the end of the first frame Jay Beagle was seen doubled over in discomfort after a defensive zone shift. He gingerly coasted to the Capitals’ bench and immediately made his way down the tunnel to the locker room.
- With Washington down two on the scoreboard in the second Lars Eller tripped Vincent Trocheck while shorthanded to put the Capitals down two men for more than one hundred seconds.
- And it was Trocheck firing home a high shot over Grubauer’s right shoulder to extend the Panthers’ lead to three. A slow pass from Aleksander Barkov gave Trocheck all the time he needed to hit his mark.
- But with a little more than four minutes remaining in the second Djoos juked out a pair of Panthers defensemen before tucking the puck under the crossbar beyond James Reimer’s glovehand.
- And late in the third period Barkov backhanded a shot into the Capitals empty net from his own zone to seal the contest 4 to 1 in Florida’s favor.
- Reimer was nearly perfect in the Panthers net, turning aside 41 of 42 Capitals shots.
- The Capitals afforded Florida six man advantage opportunities that included a lengthy two man advantage. Nicklas Backstrom was whistled twice, with his second minor nullifying a late second period power play chance for Washington.
After a late night of travel to return home the Capitals can be forgiven for being bested by a desperate Florida club, and two points in back-to-backs in October is fine. Washington will take a four night break before returning to action Thursday evening in Vancouver, British Columbia.