|@ Panthers (14-11-4)||1||1||2||4|
After a slight delay due to the late arrival of the paramedics, the game began. The extra bit of rest was clearly beneficial to the Panthers, who scored less than a minute into the game. Jaromir Jagr tipped in a Dmitry Kulikov shot and Jonathan Huberdeau was awarded the secondary assist on the tally. Play was fairly even until 13:36 into the game, when Jussi Jokinen was penalized for tripping.
The puck stayed in the defensive zone for the entirety of the two minutes, but the Panthers stayed strong with incredible defense and goaltending to keep their lead. Then, right after that, the Panthers had a power play opportunity when Justin Williams was penalized for slashing. The Panthers, however, did not have as many chances to score on the power play as the Capitals did on theirs. The penalty-ridden Panthers were at it again with 6:31 left in the period. The victim this time was Brandon Pirri for elbowing. This penalty kill lasted all of ten seconds as Nick Backstrom was called for holding the stick right after. Both penalties were promptly killed and 5-on-5 gameplay resumed. The rest of the period, unsurprisingly, was fairly even. At the end of the frame, the Panthers led the Capitals 1-0. They also edged out the Caps in shots on goal 9-6. This was a great period for the Panthers, especially against a team like the Capitals. Yet, since this is the Capitals, a one goal lead is never safe. The Panthers will need to work even harder in order to ensure a win.
Unlike in the first period, there was no significant event that marked the second period. Just over three minutes into the frame, Karl Alzner was penalized for holding and the Panthers went on a power play that would stick this time. The length of the power play didn’t affect the Panthers’ ability to score, though. The Cats dominated the next five minutes but the score remained 1-0 nonetheless.
The Panthers had yet another opportunity to widen their lead when Alex Ovechkin was sent to the sin bin on a high sticking call and this time, the Panthers were able to capitalize. Brandon Pirri scored one of his famous wrist shots from the point and put the Panthers up 2-0. The goal was assisted by Brian Campbell and Vincent Trocheck. With 7:14 left in the period, Dmitry Kulikov was called for hooking. Man, there have been a lot of penalties in this game. In any event, the Capitals were unable to score and play continued. Then, just a few minutes later, Kulikov headed right back to the box on a delay of game call. The penalty was thankfully killed and the Panthers kept their 2-0 lead at the end of the period. They also kept their lead in shots on goal 19-15. Once again, the Panthers had a great period. Three is the magic number for the Panthers so next period, if they are able to score again, they should be able to win.
The first five minutes of the final frame consisted of a whole lot of nothing. Of course, each team got a couple of good shots in, but nothing was substantive enough to be a possible goal. Then, at 14:17 into the period, Tom Wilson was awarded a five minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Brian Campbell (side note: I am NOT pleased). Brian Campbell seemed to have a bloody and possibly broken nose from the altercation. The power play would still stand but would be truncated after Dmitry Kulikov (again) was called for tripping. Aaron Ekblad stood up for his former linemate by scoring a beauty on the 4-on-4.
The goal was assisted by Jonathan Huberdeau and Willie Mitchell. Brian Campbell found his way back on the ice and showed the fans why his iron man streak has been so long. A scrum behind the Washington net left the teams in a 4-on-4. Alex Ovechkin was penalized for cross checking and Vincent Trocheck was penalized for slashing in the situation. The 4-on-4 didn’t last too long though because Jonathan Huberdeau was sent to the penalty box on an Al Montoya interference call. At this point, the Caps pulled Grubauer to allow for a 5-on-3. With 2 minutes left, Al Montoya was stripped of his shutout on an Alex “of course he did” Ovechkin goal. When I recently said that Logan Shaw scored his first goal but not his last, I was correct. He scored on the empty net right after the Oveckhin goal. The goal was assisted by Jussi Jokinen. When all the dust settled, the Panthers still possessed a 3 goal lead, which was enough to win them the game.
Jaromir Jagr scored the first goal of the night and became tied with Marcel Dionne for 4th place in the all time goal scorers list. That’s not too shabby. Brandon Pirri also scored one of his world renowned one-timers on the power play. Jonathan Huberdeau worked hard along the boards and assisted both the Jagr goal and the Ekblad goal. Speaking of Ekblad, he scored a fantastic 4-on-4 goal in the third. Then, who could forget Al Montoya? Saving all shots but a flukey one in the third, Al Montoya truly secured the win for the Panthers.
Your Florida Panthers will be traveling to Boston to play the Bruins on Saturday, December 12th at 1:00 PM ET. Stay tuned for a COTP preview and recap of that game.