Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Caps Lose Free For All in Shootout

Ovechkin Breaks Out of His Slump, But Team Falls to 1-9 in Shootouts This Season
Florida Panthers 6, Washington Capitals 5 F/SO
(Photo Courtesy of Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Both the Panthers and Capitals came into tonight's matchup shorthanded following an active day at the trade deadline. This led to an interesting game as players found themselves playing in situations they are not normally used to being in.

One example of this was Brian Sutherby's promotion to centering the team's first line between Ovechkin and Brashear. In response, the Edmonton, Alberta native had a two point night and tallied the 1st power play goal of his career. He also won 12 out of 14 faceoffs, making a statement to the coaching staff that he deserves to see more playing time down the stretch.

Washington railed from an early 3-0 deficit to make a game of it. The bright spot of the night was none other than Alex Ovechkin, who took advantage of the free flowing game and finally broke out of his scoring slump notching 2 goals and 2 assists on the night. After losing his center and father figure Danius Zubrus earlier in the day to the Buffalo Sabres, Ovechkin responded and displayed the game changing speed and deadly shot that he has been lacking in recent weeks. His 4 point night was the 1st of the season for a Caps player and pulled him within 4 goals of the NHL leader, Vincent Lecavalier who has 41. He did this all while leading the team in ice time with 26:33 on the night.

Olli Jokinen led the Panthers attack recording a hat trick by the 3:29 mark of the second period. It was the third 3 goal game on the season for Florida's scoring leader. And he almost got his forth goal of the game as a game winning attempt in overtime beat Cassivi with a nice snap shot, but the puck clanged off the inside of the post forcing another dreaded shootout situation for both clubs.

If there is any team that has struggled more than the Caps in the shootout this season it is the Florida Panthers. They came into tonight having yet to win in the competition going 0 for 7 on the season. Goals by Jozef Stumpel and Ville Peltonen changed that luck however, finally getting the team into the win column.

Game Notes:

The Panthers made 3 trades before the deadline, dealing Gary Roberts and Joel Kwiatkowski to Pittsburgh, and Todd Bertuzzi to Detroit.... Frederic Cassivi saw NHL action for the first time this season, replacing Brent Johnson after he allowed 4 first period goals.... Following today's trades the Caps roster was short handed forcing Brian Muir back into the lineup for the first time since December.... Mike Vogel announced during the second period that the team expects Jiri Novotny to be in the lineup for Saturday night's game against Richard Zednik and the New York Islanders.

1 comment:

kenhockey said...

I give the Caps a great deal of credit for coming back to get the point. They could have packed it in, but they hung in there, and it was a tremendous effort in very tough circumstances. One of these days they'll win a shootout. But this was a game they could have lost without gaining anything, and I think they came out of it with not only a point, but respect for their efforts. The attendance sure was pathetic.