Despite out-shooting the Washington Capitals by a robust forty to twenty margin, the Florida Panthers dropped a tough 4-3 decision to the top team in the Metropolitan Division last night at Capital One Arena.
Braden Holtby finished with 37 stops, including one on snake-bitten Mike Matheson without a stick moments before Lars Ellers snapped a 2-2 tie with a rebound goal 5:18 into the the third period.
Brendan Leipsec scored the eventual game-winner 6:41 later, putting the Capitals up by two before Vincent Trocheck gave the Cats hope when he notched his fourth of the season from a sharp angle with the assists going to Keith Yandle and club scoring leader Jonathan Huberdeau.
Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring from Evgeny Kuznetsov late in the first period, Richard Panik also scored and defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler had two assists for the Capitals.
Trocheck set up Brett Connolly early in the second for his team-leading 12th goal in his first return to The District after signing with Florid during the summer. Yandle drew the secondary helper on the breakaway tally, which Connolly finished with a flourish.
Mike Hoffman hit double-digits late in the frame after converting an Aleksander Barkov feed, knotting the score 22 seconds after Panik lit the lamp.
The Panthers have now lost three games in a row after getting beaten by Carolina, Buffalo and the Capitals for a second time this season.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 16 saves and saw his save percentage dip to .884 and his GAA climb to 3.48.
Bobrovsky and the Panthers must find a way to start holding the opposition to three goals or less more often if they want to build on their solid start, which is quickly getting erased as the calendar runs out of days in November.
Offensively, the club needs to start finding the back of the net more often. The last two games have seen the team put a combined 85 shots on Linus Ullmark and Holtby and only five resulted in goals. There are too many players not contributing and it’s starting to show with Barkov, Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov running into cold spells.
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Stars & Stripes
- Washington raised its record against the Atlantic Division to 6-1 this season. The Panthers have given them all they can handle twice now, but only have one point to show for it.
- Keith Yandle produced two assists, but his interference penalty with 49 seconds remaining helped the Capitals run out the clock.
- Jakub Vrana’s assist on Eller’s go-ahead goal was his 100th NHL point. Radko Gudas also picked up a helper for the home team.
- After returning from the nation’s capital, the Panthers will play nine-straight games at the BB&T Center. This homestand will likely be a huge factor in whether the team makes the playoffs.
- Barkov, Matheson, Trocheck and Dadonov each had five shots on goal, accounting for half of Florida’s shot total.
- For more on the Revenge of the Sith of the Cats current losing streak, head over to Japers’ Rink.