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Oshie’s Fire & Emotion vs. Cats Speak Volumes For Capitals: ‘What Are We Waiting For?’

The Washington Capitals saw fire and grit in T.J. Oshie’s play that sparked a much better third period following an underwhelming start against the Florida Panthers.



WASHINGTON — Down 4-1 with just over a minute to go in the second period, the Washington Capitals needed a spark, anything to bring the team to life after an underwhelming first 40 minutes in a high-stakes game against the Florida Panthers. As frustration boiled over, T.J. Oshie answered the call, getting in the paint and ultimately, throwing some punches and going after Matthew Tkachuk to show his teammates that there was still a lot of fight left in them.

Those roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for Oshie would spark the Capitals, who were a completely different team in the third period and had pulled within one before two empty-net goals sealed the deal in a 6-3 loss. Still, it was a wake-up call, one that spoke volumes as Washington continues to operate without Alex Ovechkin.

"What are we waiting for?" head coach Peter Laviolette said postgame. "I said it after the second period, 'T.J., I loved it.' It's great. We're in a playoff mode here, so more of that. Give me some more of that. And it was good that he got in there. He's in the front, he's in the paint, he's hunting for a goal and trying to get dirty, and with it comes a scrum."

Nicklas Backstrom agreed and also said that his style of play is something that the Capitals need to incorporate into their overall game.

“He got involved, he started hitting people and obviously, that’s an area too we gotta be better at," Backstrom said. "So for sure that was important for us.”

Oshie picked up two assists, two shots, two hits and four penalty minutes in the defeat and has found the scoresheet in back-to-back games. With Ovechkin out indefinitely following the death of his father, Oshie said that he wanted to play harder for his captain, and he has done just that while also being one of the leaders the team needs right now with their captain on the other side of the globe.

"Osh is a huge leader for us, and I thought his play just demonstrated how much he's bought in," Garnet Hathaway said. "You know, guys feed off of that, guys look up to him. That's what we expected from him, and he's shown us [that] for so long, and tonight was just another example."

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