The Florida Panther’s offense showed up in a big way tonight, unfortunately so did Washington’s. The Panthers 6-5 overtime loss to the Capitals was a game that would make fans of goaltending and defense cringe, scratch that, fans of goaltending and defense probably smashed their televisions with baseball bats mid second period lest they go insane watching the rest of the game.
Both the Panthers and Capitals have struggled with goaltending this year and it showed tonight in South Florida. Scott Clemmensen got the start for Florida tonight and allowed 6 goals on 29 shots good for a paltry .793 save percentage. Braden Holtby, who shut Florida out in the Capitals 5-0 win Saturday, performed just a tiny bit better than Clemmensen stopping 27 of 32. Special teams played a large role in the game as Florida went 0-6 in power play opportunities while the Caps converted two of their four power plays.
The Panthers received two goals from Jonathan Huberdeau, his fourth and fifth of the season. Drew Shore scored his first NHL goal after coming so close so many times this season. The other Panther goals were scored by Tomas Fleischman (4) and Shawn Matthias (2). The Panthers were up 2-1 after the first period and up 4-3 after the second period. Shore got on the board early in the third to put Florida up 5-3 but goals from Eric Fehr and Alex Ovechkin evened the score and sent the game to overtime.
The overtime period only lasted 32 seconds before the Capitals put an end to the game with a goal by Troy Brouwer. Nicklas Backstrom hit Brouwer in stride as he rushed down the right flank into the Panthers zone. Clemmensen saved Brouwers first shot but Brouwer was able to pick up his own rebound and put the puck in the back of the net.
The win gives the Capitals (4-8-1) nine points, just one behind Florida (4-6-2). Washington will look to sweep a trip through Florida when the play the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday, meanwhile the Panthers will look to get back in the win column when they face the Montreal Canadiens, also Thursday night.