The Washington Capitals defeated the Florida Panthers, 2-1 in overtime on Halloween Night in Sunrise.
Florida was solid right from the beginning of the tilt, holding the high-powered Capitals at zero shots on goal until seven minutes had elapsed in the first and to a total of six shots-on-goal (out of 15 overall) through the frame. Florida had 10 during the same time on 19 total shots attempted.
The Panthers had two full two-minute power plays in the first, but were unable to solve Philipp Grubauer on either chance.The Cats dished out thirteen hits to just nine for the Caps. Five of those hits were by Quinton Howden, who totaled eight for the whole game.
Early in the second period, Erik Gudbranson was called for holding the "Great 8," but Florida was equal to the task of killing the penalty off, even outshooting the Caps, 2-to-1.. As the penalty was winding down, Alex Ovechkin drilled a slapshot off the right ankle of Alex Petrovic. The puck bounced out to Jussi Jokinen, who slid it to Dave Bolland as the two glided down the ice. Bolland got it back to Jokinen, who somehow flipped it over Grubauer into the top right corner of the net for a 1-0 Panthers lead. Petrovic was awarded the secondary assist, of course, as he was helped off the ice.He was ok, by the way, and thanks for asking.
The rest of the period would go scoreless for either team, despite near-goals off the post first by Derek MacKenzie then by Jonathan Huberdeau. The Caps would get 10 of their 16 shot attempts on Al Montoya, who was spectacular through the first two periods, while Florida only generated 10 shot attempts (most of them also spectacular), six of them on goal. The Capitals led in the hits category through the period, 17-to-11.
Just over two minutes into the third period, Jay Beagle slid the puck past Montoya to tie the score at one. He was assisted on the play by Ovechkin and Justin Williams. One can't help but think that at least part of Williams' assist was due to him hooking Montoya's glove, preventing the "Big Cubano" from making the save. The goal was ruled legit on the ice, and after a Gerald Gallant's challenge.
Well - If "wishes" and "whats" were grape soda and codeine, it'd be Valentine's Day every week.
With the score tied at one, both teams embarked on their own frantic efforts to get ahead over the next 17 minutes and change. It was a pretty even back-and-forth effort from that point on, with the Caps outshooting the Panthers 15-to-13 but the Cats getting more on net, 10-to-9. The two teams combined for nine hits apiece through the frame. Bolland, MacKenzie and Rocco Grimaldi almost ended it with 10 seconds left.
The long awaited three-on-three overtime was worth the anticipation, at least until the Capitals buried the game-winner. Odd man rushes either way seem like they should have accounted for more than three total shots-on-goal throughout the short frame (two for Washington and one for Florida), but that came to an end on Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal. Mute your speakers before you play the below clip if you're allergic to opposing broadcaster smugness.
Dmitry Orlov and Ovechkin were the other two skaters on the ice for the Capitals, who have won seven of their last eight.
Here's some of Panther's D Erik Gudbranson's thoughts on the game:
Here's your NHL.COM recap....
...and your war-on-ice.com advanced stat roundup....
....and the enemy point of view....
Next up for the Panthers, a nice little four day vacation, followed by a California road-trip! Florida will play all three Cali teams, starting with the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night. Anaheim Calling has more on them.