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Category: Washington-Capitals

The Florida Panthers Take Back Home Ice Advantage

from Samatha Pell of The Washington Post,

The whistles kept coming Monday night at Capital One Arena, the pace of play broken up time and time again as the parade to the penalty box continued.

An infraction-filled second period devolved into a special teams showcase during the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers in Game 4, and the officials had assessed 13 minor penalties by the end of the night.

In the Stanley Cup playoffs, physical play is expected, but the quantity of penalties handed out in this Eastern Conference first-round series that’s tied at two wins apiece — as well as the number of infractions being called leaguewide this postseason — may not continue to benefit a Capitals team facing the best offense the NHL has seen since the mid-1990s.

The Capitals’ penalties have yet to hurt them; the Panthers — who had the NHL’s fifth-best power play in the regular season, clicking at 24.4 percent — are 0 for 13 through four games. But penalty killing perfection for a group that denied its opponents 80.4 percent of the time in the regular season (to rank 12th in the league) is unsustainable against Florida’s talent. The Panthers had four 30-goal scorers in the regular season, and those four (Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Huberdeau) combined for 42 power-play tallies.

After a momentum-swinging Game 4 win, Florida may be feeling its early-series nerves starting to fade. The Panthers are one lucky bounce — or one perfect snipe — away from getting back into a rhythm on the power play.

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Game highlights are below.

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Fines Handed Out Today

 

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Anthony Mantha Making His Mark For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

Capitals forward Anthony Mantha couldn’t help but laugh after his 10-hit performance in Game 1 of Washington’s first-round series against the Florida Panthers. It was not only the most hits in his short Capitals career, it was the most hits he’s had in a game — ever.

At the time, even Mantha didn’t sound confident he could keep up his physical play though a long series with Florida.

“I don’t know if I can get 10 again, obviously,” Mantha said with a laugh after Game 1. “But getting at least a couple out there just to get engaged in the game, trying to get them on their heels maybe. That one play that is going to create a turnover, [that] is going to be beneficial for us. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a little more, get a little less.”

With three games down, the Capitals lead the series, 2-1. And through it Mantha has flourished, continuing to sustain his engaging, physical play from Game 1.

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Goaltending An Issue For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

The moment Vitek Vanecek let in the Florida Panthers’ third goal in the Capitals’ eventual 5-1 Game 2 defeat Thursday night was the moment Washington’s never-ending goalie saga reared its head once again.

Mason Marchment delivered a dart from the right circle that found the space between Vanecek’s pads at the 3:11 mark of the second period, putting Florida up, 3-1. The goal came just 27 seconds after center Nicklas Backstrom scored to cut the Panthers’ lead in half.

It was a momentum-swinging goal, a back-breaker, and one any goalie — namely Vanecek — simply can’t allow if the Capitals want a shot at defeating Florida in the first-round series. The goal was the first of three straight for the Panthers en route to a victory that knotted the series at a game apiece.

“That was kind of tough, actually, mentally,” Backstrom said of Florida’s third goal. “After that, after the second period, in the third, they had a 5-1 lead. Nothing to say about that. That being said, we’ve got a tight series going back to Washington. Looking forward to playing in front of our fans.”

Vanecek can’t shoulder the blame for all five goals, with his defense breaking down on several occasions. However, as has been the case all season, his inability to make stops on routine shots precipitated his downfall.

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Highlights can be watched below.

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Quite The Comeback For The Washington Capitals

from Samantha Pell of The Washington Post,

In a flash, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie ripped through the middle of the ice, taking a peek at Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky before looking left. Waiting on that side was center Nicklas Backstrom; he slickly found Oshie, who got between two defenders and flicked the puck past Bobrovsky with ease.

Just like that, Washington’s optimism was soaring again. Oshie’s goal at 10:37 of the third period held up as the winner Tuesday night in a 4-2 Game 1 victory over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers at FLA Live Arena. Evgeny Kuznetsov had scored less than three minutes earlier, meaning Florida had coughed up a 2-1 lead entering the final period. Lars Eller produced the final score on an empty-netter with less than a minute left.

“Typical Nicky fashion, [he] sauced it through a guy’s legs and right on my tape,” Oshie said. “I just redirected it, didn’t see it go in — so he had to come tell me that we scored.”

In the regular season, Florida did not lose a game in regulation when leading after two periods, finishing 39-0-1. Tuesday’s game was the first time the Capitals not only overcame a third-period deficit to win a playoff game since the clinching Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup finals, but it was also their first road playoff win — excluding the 2020 postseason, when the pandemic forced the playoffs to be played in two Canadian cities — since that night in Las Vegas when the Capitals claimed the NHL crown.

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Game highlightgs below.

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Video- Alex Ovechkin Leaves The Game With An Upper-Body Injury

Coach Laviolette says he has yet to get an update on Ovechkin from the trainers.

 

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Video- 50 For Ovechkin

added 1:08am, below a longer version of #50 

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Details On Washington/Seattle Trade

added 11:48am, Washington release is below.

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  Tags: seattle+kraken

Video- Goal #767 For Alex Ovechin

Passed Jaromir Jagr and now stands in 3rd place for all-time goals.

Next is Gordie Howe at 801.

 

added 9:50pm, Watch a longer version below.

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Anthony Mantha Pushed Himself To Get Back In The Lineup

from Samantha Pell of the Washington Post,

Anthony Mantha’s slow but steady crawl back to full health turned into a full sprint over the past month. The 27-year-old forward said he pushed his body to the max as he finished off a lengthy rehab process after shoulder surgery in early November.

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So far, it has been worth it. The Capitals are 4-0-1 since Mantha reentered Washington’s lineup on March 3. He has one goal and one assist in his first five games since returning from injury.

“The last little sprint to here from all-star break [the first week in February] was pretty intense for me workout-wise,” Mantha said, “And it was just new steps every other week or every week almost. From the mental side of it, it was awesome.”

Washington’s next game is Tuesday against the New York Islanders.

Mantha said his return was certainly accelerated “maybe a game or two” after key injuries to Washington’s forward corps, but he said he wasn’t rushed back. He said he would have slowed down if he had felt sore or off after any practice leading up to his return, but no setbacks occurred.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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