Washington Capitals Tame Florida Panthers as Ovechkin Scores Highlight Reel Goal
The Washington Capitals added to their league-best record of winning games when allowing the opposing team to score the first goal.
The Capitals are now a league best 12-11-2 when the opposition scores first and are the only team in the NHL with a winning record when giving up the first goal.
Washington also won their 11th one-goal game of the season last night, which is eighth best in the NHL.
After failing to record a shot in the first eight minutes of Tuesday's home shutout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington needed almost seven minutes to record their first shot last night against Florida.
Florida out-shot Washington 6-5 in the first period and scored just 3:49 into the game. Like many previous times this season, Washington would once again come out flat as Panthers center Mike Santorelli was able to beat an out-of-position Semyon Varlamov to give the Panthers and early 1-0 lead.
The Capitals have now been outscored 35-27 in the first period this season.
Eric Fehr would tie the game for Washington 5:34 into the second period. The goal marked Fehr's third straight goal for the Capitals dating back to the Winter Classic, ending a 96-minute, 27-second scoreless draught for the Capitals.
The goal also marked the sixth straight game Fehr has recorded a point. His goal was a workman like effort as Fehr scored while being shoved around in front of the Panthers net. Fehr converted a pass from Mike Green and beat the Panthers goalie, tying the game at one.
The Capitals would come back to out-shoot Florida 12-9 in the second period as both teams headed to the second intermission tied at one.
Play would go back and forth in the third period with both goaltenders keeping the game tied. Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves as the game's No. 3 star, 12 of them coming in the final period.
Varlamov is currently entrenched as the No. 1 goalie in Washington, giving up just six goals in five consecutive starts for the Capitals.
With 6:55 remaining the Capitals would convert on the their third power play chance of the night as Eric Fehr would once again factor in the goal.
Fehr returned the assist favor hitting Caps defenseman MIke Green as he was pinching down coming through the right faceoff circle.
Fehr hit Green in stride as Green backhanded the puck, beating Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensn for his eighth of the season.
Washington would build a two-goal lead moments later as Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight reel goal while being tripped, ending up on the seat of his pants.
do you trust the play of Semyon Varlamov for a Stanley Cup run
Taking a cross ice outlet pass from Mike Knubble, Ovechkin flew down the left wing and, while getting tripped, flicked the puck past Clemmesen on his short stick side, giving the Caps a 3-1 lead.
The goal was just Ovechkin's 15th and he knows he must get better numbers. "My numbers are not as good or where they're supposed to be," Ovechkin said. "But it's the middle of the season and there are 40 games left. We'll see what's going to happen at the end of the year."
Bruce Boudreau was starting to feel some pressure from the recent scoreless draught.
"Just to get the lead in the third period was like a breath of fresh air," Boudreau said. "It seems when you come off of a shutout it seems you're never going to score and every goal you get is such a difficult goal. You're wondering if you're ever going to score again."
Florida's Evgeny Dadonov scored off a rebound with 1:37 remaining closing the game to 3-2, but the Panthers couldn't convert on a power play over the final 1:05.
Skating six-on-four, Florida ran out of time as the Caps would hang on to gain the two points.
The win was the eighth straight road game in which Tampa has recorded a point.
The Capitals will travel to the Sunshine State this week to finish off home and home games with the Lightning and Panthers.
The Capitals have killed 27 consecutive short-handed situations as a young defense continues to grow and mature. The Capitals have allowed just 16 goals in their last 10 games
Alexander Semin left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Although Nick Backstrom did record an assist last night he has gone 16 games without scoring a goal. Semin's goal draught is 14 games.
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