Despite Win vs. Florida Panthers, Washington Capitals’ Defense Proves To Be Awful
With the Washington Capitals needing every win they can get to sneak into the playoffs, and the Florida Panthers being one of the worst teams in the league, it should have been a lopsided affair. It almost was, as the Capitals stormed out to a 2-0 lead before the game was five minutes old. But the Panthers had other ideas.
Florida tied the game, fell behind by two goals again, then tied the game again before ultimately falling in regulation. Braden Holtby and Tim Thomas both had to make some extraordinary saves to keep their teams in the game. Holtby especially looked sharp when his team was on the penalty kill late in the game.
Washington’s defense, however, left much to be desired. It’s something that doesn’t get a lot of attention, (goaltending seems to be the scapegoat) but needs to be shored up if the Caps have any hopes of just making the playoffs. They were able to skate away with a regulation win tonight, but they have an almost impossible schedule coming up in March, and those teams will not fail to take advantage of defensive miscues like they had tonight.
In good news for the Capitals, secondary scoring was alive and well. Brooks Laich had his first three-point night in over two years tonight, and Troy Brouwer had two goals. Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 41st goal of the year.
In terrible news for the Capitals, Mikhail Grabovski only took three shifts before re-injuring himself. Grabovski missed several games before the Olympic break with an injured ankle, and looked good to go before starting tonight. Washington needs him to be healthy in order to make a playoff push.
For the Panthers, Brad Boyes, a possible trade chip, scored two goals and Sean Bergenheim recorded two points. Florida still sits at the bottom of the standings, with only Buffalo and Edmonton having less points.