With a tense 5-4 win against the Florida Panthers, the Washington Capitals earned another two points and ended February with a 4-1 record. The Caps have now won their past three games, but this particular victory didn’t come easily–or without a cost. With that being said, several Caps players played remarkably well.
The same can’t be said for the team as a whole. Surrendering leads is sadly a common practice for the Capitals, and tonight was no exception. They gave up two two-goal leads despite an impressive offensive showing–not exactly what should happen against a team like the Panthers.
Troy Brouwer kicked off scoring with a power-play goal early in the first period, followed by an even-strength tally courtesy of Brooks Laich. Tomas Fleischmann, however, capitalized on a serious defensive error, cutting the Caps’ lead in half.
The momentum changed quickly, as Brad Boyes sent a backhander past Braden Holtby just 40 seconds into the second period. Nicklas Backstrom quickly responded about three minutes later by scoring on Tim Thomas. Make all the Zyrtec-D jokes you like, but Backstrom’s goal was huge–and the primary assist was Martin Erat’s 22nd of the year.
Brouwer scored yet again on the power play, though his goal didn’t come until 19:13 in the second. Washington had two man advantages in the game, and Brouwer capitalized on both. Conversely, Florida was given six power-play opportunities–four of which came in the third period, which, by the way, was an atrocious 20 minutes of hockey for the Capitals.
They saw their lead slip away yet again with Drew Shore’s costly power-play goal at 8:01 in the third. Boyes joined Brouwer in contending for a hat trick just over a minute later, and the ensuing battle to score the elusive fifth goal began. Sadly, the Caps continued to play poor defense, leaving many of us to question George McPhee’s plans at the trade deadline.
Regardless of whatever GMGM has up his sleeve, I’m sure it doesn’t involve trading Alex Ovechkin, who scored the game-winning goal. A powerful slap shot with less than four minutes left was enough for the Caps to squeak by with a win–and avenge Thomas robbing Mike Green with a phenomenal save.
Was the game eventful? Absolutely. Did the Caps get two points? Fortunately. Can they continue this style of play if they want to qualify for the playoffs? Definitely not.
Yet, there were some individual player performances that make choosing Three Stars of the Game difficult. So, have your say in the poll below–who was the Washington Capitals’ best player tonight?