|FLA||0||3||2||(0 - 0)||5|
|WSH||1||0||2||(0 - 0)||3|
Postgame Notebook: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Depleted and done – Washington saw the middle column of its 9-0-1 home record suffer its first blemish in Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to Florida, and it couldn’t even turn to the legion of injured Capitals as an excuse.
Florida, across the hall, had stars like Nathan Horton, David Booth and Cory Stillman out of the lineup, with a man-games lost total of 80 entering the game that nearly matched Washington’s 82. While Alexander Semin, Mike Green and the like certainly could have made a difference, Florida could have made similar claims.
“Yeah, a lot of guys are hurt but we’re still a team and we have to work together,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “That’s what we didn’t do today. We have to work as a team and I think we played too soft today. We had no hits, a few shots, so we have to work harder if we want to win some games.”
Home ice has cured all ills for Washington to this point in the season, but that was not the case Tuesday. The smallest crowd of the season – 16,792 – didn’t inject a lot of energy, not that they had reason to cheer from the start.
“It was the least energy we’ve had all year and I talked about us having a lot of energy tonight,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Their team was coming off a big win in New York and they would be ready to play us. I don’t know what it was … maybe we had too many days off without a game … We didn’t play with a lot of life and everybody’s accountable. That’s what I said in the room today. It’s not me coming in and yelling at you. You guys should be yelling at each other.”
Washington has now suffered back-to-back losses and has lost four of its last six. Thursday the Capitals will host the New York Islanders – who have been off since Saturday – looking to avoid consecutive home losses.
Too little, too late – Much like one week and one day ago at Minnesota, the Capitals mounted an unlikely comeback late in the third period. Down 4-1 and seemingly out, Viktor Kozlov and Tomas Fleischmann scored in a 51-second span with less than four minutes to play to pull the Capitals within one.
Washington may have been onto something had the comeback only started a bit earlier, but Craig Anderson put a stop to that. Anderson made a series of terrific saves midway through the period, including stops on Viktor Kozlov, Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin. Some came on a power play after Florida’s best defenseman, Jay Bouwmeester, was in the penalty box for interference.
There were few moral victories to come from Washington’s late comeback; about all it produced were multiple-point games for Kozlov, Fleischmann and Backstrom.
“We have to wake up earlier than we did this game,” Backstrom said. “We have to be ready to play from the beginning and that’s what we didn’t do today.”
Sloppy second period – Early in the second period, the goal light behind Jose Theodore began flashing for no apparent reason. Call it what you want – foreshadowing or simply a bad omen – but it shined three more times before the period was through.
The three goals against matched the most Washington gave up in a period this season.
Two were no fault of Theodore, as pucks went in off of Capitals. Florida got its first goal on a pretty move by Ville Peltonen, but the second and third were gifts, and both came on power plays.
The second came when David Steckel gathered the puck on the boards to the right of Theodore. With his path to the blue line blocked, he fired a cross-ice pass toward Shaone Morrisonn, who could have made an easy play. Instead, the puck hit Karl Alzner’s skates and deflected past Theodore.
The third Panthers goal – just 4:31 after the second – was a shot from the point from Bryan McCabe that seemed to hit several bodies in front, finally deflecting in off Morrisonn.
Washington finished with eight giveaways in the second period, and that doesn’t include the two deflections that resulted in goals.
Power surge – After consecutive games with no power-play goals, Washington answered with a pair in four opportunities Tuesday night. The Capitals have converted on 13-of-43 power-play chances since Nov. 12 (30.2%).
In a Flash – Another bright spot for Washington was a strong game from Tomas Fleischmann, who is making them routine. Fleischmann had a goal and an assist, giving him six goals in 10 games and 10 points in that time.
Divided allegiance – Washington lost its first Southeast Division game since opening night at Atlanta. The Capitals had won four in a row against Southeast opponents.
Super Sami – Defenseman Sami Lepisto has an assist in three of the four games since he was recalled from Hershey. He had his second straight game with 20-plus minutes, skating 20:37 Tuesday night.
Line shuffle – While injuries have limited his options for line juggling, Bruce Boudreau did try some different combinations in the third. Most notably, he flip-flopped Swedish centermen Nicklas Backstrom and Michael Nylander on the top two lines.
Shooting star – Alex Ovechkin’s seven shots on goal led all players. It’s the 10th straight game that Ovechkin has led the Capitals outright in shots on goal (63 shots in that time).
|PPG - Nicklas Backstrom (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Tomas Fleischmann (6), Sami Lepisto (3)|
1 - 0 WSH
|Ville Peltonen (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Radek Dvorak (7)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Jay Bouwmeester (3) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE|
2 - 1 FLA
|PPG - Bryan McCabe (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Brett McLean (6), Michael Frolik (3)|
3 - 1 FLA
|Radek Dvorak (3) Snap shot - ASST: Gregory Campbell (5), Ville Peltonen (5)|
4 - 1 FLA
|Viktor Kozlov (4) Snap shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (17), Shaone Morrisonn (2)|
4 - 2 FLA
|PPG - Tomas Fleischmann (10) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (18), Viktor Kozlov (9)|
4 - 3 FLA
|EN - Gregory Campbell (5) Tip-in - ASST: Karlis Skrastins (4)|
5 - 3 FLA
|Michael Frolik Hooking against Tomas Fleischmann|
|Brett McLean Tripping against Donald Brashear|
|Milan Jurcina Interference against Michael Frolik|
|Alex Ovechkin Interference on goalkeeper against Craig Anderson|
|Eric Fehr Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Jay Bouwmeester Interference against Michael Nylander|
|Michael Nylander Hooking against Radek Dvorak|
|Ville Peltonen Tripping against Sami Lepisto|
|SA: 26||TOI: 59:48|
|Saves: 23||EV: 18 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 5 - 7|
|SV%: .885||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 21||TOI: 59:38|
|Saves: 17||EV: 16 - 18|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 3|
|SV%: .810||SH: 0 - 0|