Caps beat Panthers 4-2! Real good!

Wilson, Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Oshie. The stars of the Washington Capitals showed up in a big way in their postseason debut against the Florida Panthers. It took a lot of effort to crack Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, but it was worth all the time that it took.

Tom Wilson scored Washington’s first goal of the postseason as a lengthy power play expired. Then he ninja-smoked out of the game entirely and the Panthers started scoring. First it was Sam Bennett, who tied the game with a goal that Washington’s skaters should have prevented and Washington’s goalie should have stopped.

Early in the second, Panthers legend Claude Giroux made a nifty move, kicking the puck then backhanding it to put Florida in the lead.

In the third, Alex Ovechkin forced a turnover in the Panthers zone that Evgeny Kuznetsov converted into the tying goal. Nick Backstrom sent a perfect pass to TJ Oshie to put the Caps in the lead with nine minutes left in regulation. Eller got the empty-netter.

Caps win 4-2. Caps lead the series 1-0.

  • I was really surprised by how the physical Panthers were. I was expecting them to beat the Caps down with puck possession. It was the opposite. The Caps had the puck a lot, and the Panthers punished them for it.
  • Tom Wilson played like a shift and a half. He drew a penalty, scored a goal, and then was banished to the phantom zone. He was hurt or something? Maybe related to a hit on Weegar? Maybe something having to do with his body? I have no idea.
  • The villain of the game was Florida forward Mason Marchment. Marchment manufactured a restraining call on Fehervary by holding his stick. Then he baited Anthony Mantha into a slash, then he drew a slash from Johan Larsson.
  • Really strong effort from Conor Sheary. He moved the puck for the top line, drew penalties, and created chances. Some scoring would be nice, but we can work up to that.
  • Gotta love that Evgeny Kuznetsov goal. Alex Ovechkin was very savvy on the forecheck, beating Mackenzie Weegar, then Kuznetsov absolutely slammed the puck up and over Bobrovsky. Big-game goal from two big gamers. And good to see this bird soaring.
  • It’s the loffs so the blame game is unavoidable. I didn’t like Vitek Vanecek letting that Sam Bennett shot past him, but I didn’t like Jensen and Orlov letting Bennett get that shot off in the first place. Not sure what VV could have done on that Giroux goal; It’s just unfortunate given how nigh-flawless Bobrovsky was at the other end of the ice.
  • If you don’t know anyone who has needed an abortion, then maybe the people in your life who have needed an abortion, just don’t trust you with that information.

I wanted to say something like “ho hum i was pleasantly surprised by how well the Caps played this game” but that undersells it. They played a masterful hour of hockey. They took on a dominant possession team and controlled them. They generated a ton of chances, and they converted them when they had to.

Alright, I admit I was wary going into this series. But now I’m genuinely excited. That was a great game. I want to see the next one.

Let’s go! See you Thursday.

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