Caps fall to Panthers in scrappy 5-4 OT loss

Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, right, reacts as he heads to the bench to celebrate his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is defenseman Panthers Aaron Ekblad (5). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, right, reacts as he heads to the bench to celebrate his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is defenseman Panthers Aaron Ekblad (5). (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2). (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) battles for the puck against Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) battles for the puck against Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Brett Connolly (10) celebrates his goal with defenseman Christian Djoos (29), of Sweden, as Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (72), defenseman Ian McCoshen (12) and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) stands on the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Brett Connolly (10) celebrates his goal with defenseman Christian Djoos (29), of Sweden, as Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (72), defenseman Ian McCoshen (12) and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) stands on the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16), of Finland, battles for the puck against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16), of Finland, battles for the puck against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6). (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Colton Sceviour (7) celebrates his goal with defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Colton Sceviour (7) celebrates his goal with defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
(1/6)
Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, right, reacts as he heads to the bench to celebrate his goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is defenseman Panthers Aaron Ekblad (5). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen (2). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson (43) battles for the puck against Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck (21) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Capitals right wing Brett Connolly (10) celebrates his goal with defenseman Christian Djoos (29), of Sweden, as Florida Panthers center Frank Vatrano (72), defenseman Ian McCoshen (12) and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) stands on the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16), of Finland, battles for the puck against Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. Also seen is Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny (6). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Florida Panthers center Colton Sceviour (7) celebrates his goal with defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

In the fifth matchup of a six game homestand, the Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers in a scrappy 5-4 overtime loss on Saturday.

Before tonight, five of the Caps’ past home games were decided by one goal. Though Christian Djoos’ return gave the team a jolt of speed, the constant give-and-take came back to haunt Washington this time around.

The first period shaped up to be uneventful, with the Capitals failing to convert on their 15th power play of their current homestand. But once T.J. Oshie took a tripping minor, things started to get worrying.

As Oshie’s penalty expired, Frank Vatrano scored for the Panthers in a quick front-of-the-net scuffle. Thirty-five seconds later, Keith Yandle sent a wrister past Braden Holtby to give Florida a 2-0 lead over Washington.

Thanks to some great stick work from Michal Kempny, the Caps didn’t fall any further before the end of the first period.

Much like the first, the second period opened with a few bland minutes of play. Then Brett Connolly turned the tides by tipping in a shot from Andre Burakovsky to put the Caps on the board.

An unlucky bounce off Colton Sceviour’s stick found the back of the net to make it 3-1, putting the Caps back in a two-goal hole.

The Caps held on as the period continued and the pace of play picked up, matching the Panthers almost shot for shot on offense.

Lars Eller, who seems to have some kind of net-missing curse on his shots as of late, finally broke his bad luck streak to give the Caps the momentum they needed. The Capitals only trailed by one heading into the third period.

Unlike the first two frames, the third started with a bang. Derick Brassard scored only seven seconds into the period, but the Caps didn’t bat an eyelash, picking up at the same speed.

With his second goal of the game six minutes into the period, Connolly made it 4-3, and the Caps had a fighting chance. They took full advantage of it, and Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game 4-4.

Unfortunately, Connolly’s end-of-game slashing penalty put the Caps at a disadvantage going into overtime, and Mike Hoffman sealed the victory for the Panthers.

One thing to take away: The Caps were fast and furious tonight, and the pile-on of third line points was a good omen. The next step: padding their leads by more than one goal and holding onto them.

The highlight you should see:

 

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up