February 16, 2008

Capitals Vs Panthers 02/15/2008 Review

As usual in the last couple NHL seasons, the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals. As usual, the Panthers tried to make the game as boring as possible, with their stifling defensive style of play. Washington played well, but somehow I'm left almost completely unsatisfied. I'll try to make this game review as short as I can. I feel like I just want to get it over with.
What can I say about the first period? Both goaltenders played well. Washington's Brent Johnson was a little busier than Florida's Tomas Vokoun. The Capitals only managed three official scoring chances. One each, by Tomas Fleischmann, Mike Green, and Brooks Laich. All three were good, but unsuccessful. The Panthers' Rostislav Olesz was successful, as he popped in his own rebound at 5:52.

Things were looking up early in the second period. The Cap's went on the power play at 1:04, when Florida's Stephen Weiss got called for hooking Tomas Fleischmann in an attempt to prevent him from scoring. Just 53 seconds later, Alexander Semin put the puck over Vokoun's stick for a PP goal. Starting just after the mid point of the game, Washington spent a good bit of time cycling the puck in the offensive zone on three separate occasions, within a few minutes time span. Although none of their shots found the inside of the net, it was certainly very incouraging. But then, the Panthers did pretty much the same thing on two somewhat shorter spans of time, toward the end of the period. Thankfully, Johnson was able to make the stops. Both goalies were very busy and very good in this period.

Just 57 seconds into the third, Fleischmann got past Florida defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and scored another PP goal. That's the first goal for Flash, since going ten games without scoring a goal. After Mike Green failed to clear the puck (fanned on first attempt) a few minutes later, the Panthers' Nathan Horton just barely got one by netminder Brent Johnson to tie it at 2-2. At 8:27, Kamil Kreps was credited with sending a ricocheting puck off Johnny's skate and into the net for the game winner. It came from behind the net, but it looked more like a clearing attempt by Washington's defenseman John Erskine that sent the puck on it's way, to me. Anyway, with Brent pulled for the extra skater, the Capitals' net was empty when Florida's David Booth got the fourth Panther goal.

Both teams played well, and both goalies were sharp for most of the game. The Capitals killed all six of their penalties against the team with the fifth best power play. But, the Panthers got a few lucky bounces. Florida also held Alex Ovechkin to four shots on goal. Let's just try to forget about this one. Tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning will surely be much more exciting, whatever the outcome. I'm also sure the Fathers (and father in law) on this southest road trip are proud of the guys, and are still having a good time.

All Photos - Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

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