The Florida Panthers capped off an exciting week of news with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals. Jaromir Jagr finally scored his 731st career goal and backup Al Montoya delivered another solid performance in net to lead the Cats to the impressive win, which ended a two-game skid.
After going eight games without a goal, Jagr wasted little time in staking the Panthers to an early lead. The 43-year-old legend neatly deflected home a point shot from Dmitry Kulikov fifty-one seconds into the first period to tie Marcel Dionne for fourth place all-time. Jonathan Huberdeau drew the secondary helper on the little bit of NHL history.
The Panthers went up by two at the 9:16 mark of the second period. Brandon Pirri one-timed a Brian Campbell set up by Philipp Grubauer for his sixth goal with Alex Ovechkin sitting in the sin bin for high-sticking. Vincent Trocheck also added an assist on the power-play marker.
Florida extended its lead to three when Aaron Ekblad redirected Huberdeau's beautiful saucer pass to complete a two-on-one break with the teams skating at 4-on-4 at 7:19 of the final frame. Captain Willie Mitchell collected his fifth point of the season with the second assist.
The goal came shortly after Caps defensman Tom Wilson took a five-minute major and received a game misconduct for boarding Campbell. Kulikov took a tripping minor that might have prevented a goal to set up the 4-on-4 situation that Ekblad and Huberdeau took advantage of. After getting some repair work done to his mug, Campbell returned to the fray, proving once again that he is the Panthers' version of Tony Stark.
After pulling their goaltender with 4:25 to go, the Capitals finally solved Montoya a couple minutes later when Ovechkin converted a pass from John Carlson. Nicklas Backstrom also collected a helper on Ovie's fourteenth.
Logan Shaw completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 1:04 left on the clock. After initially passing up a shot at the clincher, Shaw picked up the rebound of Jussi Jokinen's miss and skipped it home for his second career tally. The rookie has now scored in two straight games.
The Panthers delivered an impressive defensive effort, limiting the Capitals to just 21 shots on Montoya, with just 4 of those coming in the third period. That said, the visitors did help out by firing good scoring chances wide of the net time after time. After playing well in spurts in losses to Ottawa and New Jersey, the Cats went hard from start to to pick up a big two points at home. The club will now head out for a four-game road trip that starts Saturday afternoon in Boston with a key match up against the Bruins.
Stars & Stripes
- It took Jaromir Jagr, who led the Cats with 5 shots, 1,577 games to the hit the 731-goal mark, Marcel Dionne did in just 1,348 with the Kings, Red Wings and Rangers. Jagr is now ten goals behind Brett Hull.
- Al Montoya beat the Capitals for the first time in his career. He was 0-2-2 against them coming into the game. Montoya came within 2:08 of his first shutout of the season.
- The Panthers' PK had a good night, killing off all five of Washington's opportunities. The Caps entered the game with the league third-ranked power play.
- Philipp Grubauer made his first start in nine games and finished with 22 stops.
- I touched on this earlier, but wanted to get specific. The Capitals ended up with 18 missed shots. That's a lot.
- Props to a couple of Cats for quietly doing their thing: Reilly Smith registered 3 shots and 2 hits, and provided good energy throughout, while Derek MacKenzie went 15-of-24 in the dot.
- Defenseman Steven Kampfer left game and did not return.No update on his status as of yet. Paging Mr. Olsen, Dylan Olsen...
- war-on-ice has the advanced stats breakdown for you right here.
- Our pals at Japers' Rink have more on the Caps rare regulation time loss.
Highlights (courtesy of NHL.com)