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Morning After: Cardiac Cats Strike Again

Nov 8, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) makes a save in front of Washington Capitals left wing Sonny Milano (15) in the third period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After (another!) lengthy break in between games, the Washington Capitals showed no signs of rust as they controlled play against the Florida Panthers early on. They were rewarded for that with Anthony Mantha picking his spot perfectly on the rush, banking one in off Panthers center Anton Lundell with precision as the Caps took a 1-0 lead. Things would slowly go downhill from there as Florida eventually settled in, eventually getting a couple of goals from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Sasha Barkov as they’d end the first period up 2-1.

Early in the 2nd, with the Panthers looking to break the game open on the power play, Aliaksei Protas came away with a rebound and booked it for the Panthers’ d-zone. He connected with his fellow 2019 draftee Connor McMichael there, who slipped a nifty backhand past Bobrovsky to tie things up at two apiece. Later, McMichael found himself on another 2-on-1 and added to his highlight reel, sliding it over to Anthony Mantha who put it home for his second of the night, as the Caps closed out the second stanza up 3-2.

That lead would hold throughout much of the third, right up until the Panthers netted the equalizer off of a dime from Gustav Forsling that found Evan Rodrigues’s stick, eventually taking what was an action packed evening into overtime…

…an anticlimactic overtime at that, which ended in all of 15 seconds as Sam Reinhart broke free and put one past Kuemper. A bittersweet ending to what was ultimately a successful 5-game homestand that saw the Caps go 3-1-1, as they head over to the Tri-State area for a weekend back-to-back against the Devils and Islanders.

Three Takeaways

  • I don’t necessarily think Kuemper was flat-out bad last night and actually deserves a little bit of credit for the Capitals walking out of this one with a point. However, he hasn’t done enough this year to separate himself as the Caps’ undisputed #1 goalie. That net should at least be split with Lindgren for now.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov is very good at making himself stand out, and he made sure to do so in his last two shifts.
  • Not the most encouraging game from the Capitals’ defense pairings as a whole, to say the least.

They Said It:

Talking Points