A night after blowing a two-goal lead against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Panthers found themselves in Washington, facing a Capitals team looking for revenge for the 3-0 loss they suffered last time the Cats were in town. They would get their revenge, although the game was closer than it probably should have been.
This one started off as too many have recently, with a Panther in the box. Cory Stillman went off at 1:14 for hooking Alex Ovechkin. The Panthers killed the penalty and quickly scored the first goal of the game. Steve Bernier shot the puck on goal from the blueline and David Booth picked up the rebound, then passed it through a couple of Capitals to Dmitry Kulikov. Kulikov passed it back to Mike Santorelli, who had a wide open net. The rest of the period would be marked by a distinct lack of offense, with more hits than shots. The Panthers would make six shots and five hits and the Capitals would make five shots and eleven hits. Four of the Panthers' shots were from Mike Santorelli. Marty Reasoner would take a late penalty for delay of game, but the Panthers held their one goal lead going into the second.
The lead wouldn't last, as Eric Fehr scored a little less than six minutes off a nice pass from behind the net by Mike Green. The Panthers would get a power play chance shortly after, but despite getting five shots on Semyon Varlamov they were not able to tie the game. They would have some good chances, but it was Mike Green with the go-ahead goal late in the third to give the Capitals their first lead. Ovechkin would take a cross-ice pass off the boards from Mike Knuble and race in alone on Clemmensen and slam home the insurance goal.
The Panthers were not quite ready to lay down, as Dadonov scored off a Weiss rebound with 1:37 left, just as Scott Clemmensen was skating off to the bench. The Panthers' weak power play cost them again as Niklas Backstrom went off for cross-checking with just over a minute left. The resulting 6-on-4 power play was once again full of long shots from the blueline that got stopped in traffic before getting to the goaltender.
The good: The Panthers hung in against a far better opponent in the second of back-to-back games. They didn't take a period off and didn't look as fatigued as they often do in these games. They also didn't collapse, getting back to within one late in the game.
The bad: The Panthers let the Capitals dictate the play too often and made defensive mistakes that cost them their lead.
The ugly: The Panthers' power play was 0-for-4 in this game, including a 6-on-4 in the final minute. The lack of power play production cost them at least a point in this game, if not two.
More from Japers' Rink here. Next up: Caps at Cats, Tuesday; Live Game Thread at 6.