Greetings from Ovechkin Island: Caps beat Panthers 6-1

Greetings from Ovechkin Island: Caps beat Panthers 6-1

Reeling from an unlucky Game Two, the Washington Capitals returned to home ice and righted some wrongs. They withstood Florida’s relentless attack, dialed in their goaltending, and made some big offensive plays to wrest control of this series.

Jonathan Huberdeau kicked us off with a dart of a goal that beat Ilya Samsonov up high. Before the first period was up, TJ Oshie tied the game with an expert deflection of Alex Ovechkin’s shot.

The Caps got steamrolled in the second period, but no one told the scoreboard. Marcus Johansson backhanded a rebound to put the Caps in the lead, the he set up Trevor van Riemsdyk to make it 3-1 after two periods.

Marooned on Ovechkin Island, Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal halfway into the third period. John Carlson secured an empty-netter from like 188 feet away, and Hathaway added one more for good measure.

Caps beat Panthers 6-1. Caps lead the series 2-1.

A playoff Bailamos game! Turn it up.

  • Ilya Samsonov had no excuse for letting in that Huberdeau goal, but he locked down the crease afterwards, so we’ll all just shut up about him for a bit. This was in the third period:
  • When the Caps weren’t killing two penalties in the second period, they were getting outshot 23 attempts to six. That’s blowout territory — or it would be had the Caps not converted two of those six attempts. Hockey is a silly game. We are all silly people for watching it.
  • connor mcmichael didnt play much but he did play well, end of bullet
  • Breakout game from deadline-pickup and childhood pal Marcus Johansson. He was the linchpin of the team’s best line (him, Backstrom, and Mantha), and made two tremendous, head’s-up plays. His goal was lovely, but this pass to TVR was even better. He summoned this goal out of nothing.
  • Not to take away from Anthony Mantha though, who’s been notching up the physicality while Tom Wilson is out.
  • Not to speculate, but I’d be shocked if Alex Ovechkin is not playing through an injury. He looks uncomfortable skating. His line got walloped in the game’s first forty minutes, so Ovechkin compensated by throwing a lot of big hits. (Obama voice starts) Let me be clear: Hits don’t matter. (Obama voice ends) Huberdeau scored his goal immediately after taking a “punishing” hit from Ovechkin. But Ovechkin’s scoring chance early in the third period illustrated that he can still deliver in big moments, which was manifested when the Panthers made, um, a tactical error on a third-period penalty kill.
  • I would be handed if not to shout out to Larsson-Dowd-Hathaway, who had very difficult matchups — basically always Florida’s top six — and kept them relatively quiet.

That was a good game, and it’s good to feel good about it. Since Game One, the Capitals have had the right notion on how to beat the Panthers, but I guess dumb luck still gets a vote in how that plan gets executed. Today, WHILE THE SUN WAS UP, the Capitals stuck to their plan and got paid back for their good faith.

Now here are some people who made mistakes.

See you Monday, when that list should grow.

Headline picture: @PuckBuddys

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