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Takeaways: Baffling Power Play Woes, Bad Call Sink Capitals vs. Panthers

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Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals went into Sunrise seeking redemption after a disappointing loss to Tampa and revenge considering how things went the last time they saw the Florida Panthers, which was in a rough Game 6 that saw Washington suffer another fourth consecutive first-round exit in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The didn’t get that on Tuesday.

While Dylan Strome and John Carlson got Washington on the board at even strength, a bad call in the second and continued power-play woes set the tone in a 5-2 loss to the Panthers.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat.

Washington Capitals Get Off To Another Rough Start

While the score wasn’t as bad as it was in Tampa Bay, things weren’t ideal for D.C. to kick things off in Sunrise.

Despite a couple of high-quality chances from the Snively-Eller-Mantha trio early in the first, the Panthers quickly tilted the ice in their favor, generating a lot of pressure and getting extended zone time. And ultimately, a bad turnover from Alex Ovechkin, who was trying to one-hand the puck out of the zone, led to wide-open time and space for Barkov, who made no mistake and put Florida up by one.

Ultimately, Washington was outshot 20-7 in the opening period, with the Panthers simplifying things and getting rubber on net while the Capitals tried to make one too many passes and set up plays that just weren’t there.

Thankfully, Darcy Kuemper was on his game and stopped 19 of 20 shots in the opening frame while making quite a few big stops to keep Washington in it.

Dylan Strome Gives Washington Capitals Life

It was a rough night on the power play, but Dylan Strome got the team some scoring at even strength.

At 4-on-4, Joe Snively got Strome the puck for a perfect snipe that made it through traffic and past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 2-1 in the second. It marked Strome’s fifth goal of the season and his fourth point in five games. Snively also got his first point of the season with the helper, and John Carlson picked the secondary helper for his sixth assist of the season and second in three games.

Washington Capitals Special Teams Woes Continue, Bad Call Costly

The Capitals would get a power-play opportunity and a chance to turn things in their favor late in the first and into the second. However, the man advantage struggled again. Again, passes weren’t clicking, and there wasn’t any chemistry there.

Then after that, the Panthers would get another big wave of momentum, and it came off a bad call to Lars Eller. The 33-year-old went in for a big hit on Carter Verhaeghe. It was a clean shoulder check, but the referees called it an illegal check to the head. Florida would go up 2-0 on the power play on a nice Sam Reinhart tally.

Washington got three more power plays later on in the frame. On the first two chances, the team combined for 11 shots and had more chemistry. On the last two, the Capitals had just one shot. Ultimately, there was nothing there, and they couldn’t convert. There also seemed to be too much time spent trying to get the puck smoothly into the offensive zone. Still, credit to the Cats, who shut things down and limited Washington’s time and space.

The power play got their fifth chance in the third period, but the result was the same as the other four.

The Capitals are now 0-for-21 on the power play over their last four games. And while those first two opportunities got them more shots on the sheet, it was deflating, and set the tone for not much else going forward, as the team couldn’t solve Sergei Bobrovsky.

Washington Capitals Can’t Come Back In Third

While Washington pulled within one and had a decent rally in the third thanks to Carlson, a Verhaeghe’s goal put things out of reach before he struck again and put the nail in the coffin with an ENG.

There wasn’t any momentum, things weren’t going as planned and it was just another night with the same story that’s plagued the Capitals over this last stretch. They’ve now dropped three of their last four games.

Full Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers Scoring Summary

Barkov gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead at 5:45 of the first period as he beat Darcy Kuemper under the glove from the high slot for his fourth of the season. The goal came off a tough giveaway from Alex Ovechkin, who was trying to one-hand the puck out of the zone.

In the second, the Florida power play got going, as Reinhart showed off excellent hand-eye coordination and batted the puck out of mid-air to make it 2-0. It was his first goal in 12 games. At 15:04 of the frame, Strome would respond to make it a 2-1 hockey game during some 4-on-4 action.

Nick Cousins doubled the Panthers lead a little over seven minutes into the final frame as after a backdoor feed by Gustav Forsling, the Belleville native cut to the low slot, beating Kuemper low blocker side for his second of the season.

With under nine to play, Carlson deflected an Erik Gustafsson point shot for his third of the season to cut the Panthers’ lead to 3-2.

Verhaeghe scored his ninth of the season with three minutes to go in the third to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead before he potted the empty netter for his 10th as the Panthers won 5-2.

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the hammer

Verhaeghe’s head jerked back and he was slow to get up after that high hit. Perception does not equate to fact… the video replay was pretty clear about that. It was definitely not a shoulder-to-shoulder check. The Caps just couldn’t get it done on the PP after the Panthers took dumb penalty after penalty and have no one to blame but themselves.

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