Capitals prevail over Panthers, end losing streak

The Washington Capitals ended a two-game slide with a huge 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on home ice on the night before Thanksgiving.

On the other side it was the Panthers third straight loss. The Washington Capitals were coming off a regulation loss and a shootout loss where they scored just one goal in regulation.

It took the Capitals 17:57 to get on the board with a shake n bake goal from Alex Ovechkin for his 16th of the season. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the assist.

The Caps were outshot 12-7 but had the 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. The Panthers tied it at 11:17 from none other than Brett Connolly on a breakaway for his 12th of the season.

The Caps retook the lead with a shot from Richard Panik that went right over the shoulders of Sergei Bobrovsky with just one minute left to play in the second period. Jonas Siegenthaler had the assist while it was Panik’s second goal of the season.

Mike Hoffman tied the game 22 seconds later and 2-2 would be the score after two periods. The Caps were outshot 13-5 in the second.

In the third the Caps took the lead at 5:18 with Lars Eller rebounding a shot backhanded from Jakub Vrana for his sixth goal of the season.

At 11:59 the Caps added to their lead with Brendan Leipsic finishing a breakaway backhander for his third of the year. Radko Gudas and Siegenthaler had the helpers.

Leipsic told NHL.com:

“I kind of took a peek over my shoulder. Seeing how much time I had and was looking to see if I had a guy coming in late or not, but took that one to the hole and it paid off.”

At 15:31 the Panthers got one back from Vincent Trocheck but it wasn’t enough as the Caps hung on for a 4-3 win. Braden Holtby made 37 saves out of 40 shots he faced for a .925 save percentage for the win. The Caps were outshot 15-8 in the third and 40-20 overall.

Eller told NHL.com on Holtby’s play:

“That’s him playing some of his best hockey. Especially tonight we really needed him to come up with that because we probably wouldn’t get out of here with two points if he didn’t play to that level. He played amazing. He was our best player.”

The Caps will host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Black Friday with a 5 p.m. puck drop from Capital One Arena.