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Posted at 11:31 PM ET, 01/11/2011

Capitals fall to Panthers 4-3 in overtime

By Katie Carrera

Washington has earned points in each of the past nine games, but after allowing three power play goals to a Florida Panthers team with aleague-worst success rate with a man-advantage and squandering an opportunity to perhaps leave Sunrise with two points, the Capitals weren't in the mood to look on the bright side.

"They were outworking us in the beginning and we can't let that happen," Marcus Johansson said. "We've got to work harder, I think that's the main thing. We've got ourselves to blame here and it's not good at all."

From bad and often untimely penalties to an inability to create much of anything on six power play opportunities, (more on that tomorrow morning) this was a game that gave the Capitals plenty of chances to seize control they just couldn't cash in. Ultimately the player whom Coach Bruce Boudreau credited with helping Washington preserve a point at BankAtlantic Center was goaltender Michal Neuvirth.

In his first start since Dec. 23, Neuvirth stopped 37 of 41 shots, an effort that included 18 saves in the first period to prevent the Panthers from adding to a quick two-goal lead.

"He was really good," Boudreau said. "If it wasn't for him the first period would have been 5-0. He stole a point for us."

Johansson, the other rookie with a standout performance against the Panthers, agreed: "He did a great job. He was really good. He kept us in the game in the first period and later on too. He was just very good tonight."

Johansson recorded the first two-goal game of his NHL career against the Panthers, with the first tally coming on a nice give-and-go with Brooks Laich. An outlet pass by Karl Alzner was tipped by recalled veteran forward Brian Willsie, sparking a 2-on-1 for Johansson and Laich. The rookie center said he simply took as hard of a shot as he could as quickly as he could in an attempt to get the puck between Tomas Vokoun's pads. It worked.

"The second one, it was a good job by [Matt Hendricks] to get the puck to the net and I just got a little stick on it and it went in," Johansson said. "[The puck] fell down right in front of [Vokoun] and I tried to get a stick on it and it found a way in."

-- Alex Ovechkin isn't scoring many goals this season, but the cross-ice pass he sent through plenty of traffic to find Mike Knuble for a goal in the second period was as good of a set-up as any player could ask for.

-- Washington's matchup Wednesday against the Lightning in Tampa Bay would have been big regardless of the outcome against the Panthers, but with the two teams entering the contest at the St. Pete Times Forum tied with 55 points and jockeying for top billing in the Southeast Division, expect an intense showdown.

By Katie Carrera  | January 11, 2011; 11:31 PM ET
Categories:  Florida Panthers, Marcus Johansson, Michal Neuvirth  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open thread: Capitals at Panthers
Next: Bruce Boudreau says Caps are losing games on the power play


They definitely need to play better against TB than they did tonight. (And do better than they did against TB last night.)

It's time to blow up the PP. It is simply not working in its present configuration. Maybe use the grinders as our main forwards. Or use the players who've been our most effective and/or hard working players as of late. Forwards to use: MarJo, Fehr, Beagle, Stecks, Knuble

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 12, 2011 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Somewhat expected,are these less than steller efforts from last years play off exit.But they need to wratchit up pretty soon and get in the right gear.

Posted by: ridgely1 | January 12, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

In all seriousness, can someone with a solid understanding of the game explain how Mike Green is revered by so many people. When he is not mugging someone in front of the net (Crosby) or giving the other team a penalty shot (Malkin) or sitting in the box when the OT game winner is scored by Florida, he is often mis-handling the puck. Joe Beninanti loves the guy and Boudreau thinks he walks on water. I just don't see it, but i am not knowledgeable enough about the sport. Thoughts?

Posted by: 08WashCaps19 | January 12, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Tampa 5 Caps 2 tonight. They're going to get rolled (normally I'm wrong with predictions so I'm hoping for my streak to continue!)
Still though....people can say what they want about individuals, (like me and my hatred for Semin,) but that PP is TERRIBLE!!! No one's like watching cement skate!

Posted by: joshu1 | January 12, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line on Mike Green is that he is a very offensively skilled player and only average defensively. Generally, his offense outweighs his defensive blunders. I personally think he is a bit overrated as are most offensively skilled D men.

Posted by: CAPSHOCKEY2 | January 12, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

If Green wasnt in the box in OT he would have been in locker room. He took the penalty on what would have been an open net. It was a good penalty to take, if Hendricks makes the last clear they kill it off and have a chance. Apparently a lot of people like Green, he was nominated for the Norris the last 2 years. I think those guys have a solid understanding of the game.

Posted by: pebowers | January 12, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Hi Caps Fans....

Just passing along some information about an event being held in Hershey next week to raise money for cancer research. The Hershey Bears players will be the hosts of the event which will include them serving appetizers and dinner as well as a live and silent auction and open bar. We will be auctioning off a bunch of Capitals items during the event so Caps fans may be interested in attending as well. The event is set for Tuesday, January 18th at What If of Hershey and specific information about the event is below.  
The Capitals items that will be included in the auction (silent/live) are:
A Washington Capitals team signed jersey
A Washington Capitals team signed stick
Alex Ovechkin signed jersey
Mike Green signed jersey
John Carlson signed jersey
Mike Green signed puck
A Winter Classic Photo Signed by Backstrom & Ovechkin
Capitals Game Tickets & Hotel Room Combo Package
There will also be a lot of other items up for auction like a Bears Suite Package for 16 people to attend a game and watch warm-ups from the penalty box, Hershey Bears Team memorabilia, spa packages, golf packages etc.

Here is the summary of the event:
The Hershey Bears wives and girlfriends in partnership with local restaurant What If of Hershey are hosting a dinner and auction on Tuesday, January 18, 2011. Funds raised will benefit new research projects with the goal of finding treatments and cures for several forms of cancer at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.
Hershey Bears players will be on hand during the auction to meet guests, sign autographs, and take photographs. Dinner guests will have the pleasure of having their own Hershey Bears players as table hosts. Bring your tip money as they will be competing to serve you, all the while raising money for a worthy cause!
Tickets will be sold at the game Saturday, January 15th, 2011 or email for information about purchasing tickets directly. Tickets for the silent auction/cocktail hour are $50 each (just reduced from $75 each) and include attendance at the event from 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., appetizers served by Bears players and an open bar. Dinner tickets are $150 each and include attendance at the silent auction, appetizers, and open bar, as well as a live auction during a 5-course dinner that evening.
Only a limited amount of tickets were made available for this event so you will have a lot of personal interaction with current and ex-Bears players as well as great chances to win the great auction items!
Here is a link to the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute website with information about the event that you could share:

**(Note tickets prices for the silent auction portion were reduced from $75 to $50 and the dinner is 5 courses not 3)

Posted by: hbbh2010 | January 12, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

@pebowers - Glad someone here understands how to play the game. The game would have been over. Green has been pretty darn awesome the past few weeks. Look at his blocked shots totals and so on. IMO it's the power play that sucks so bad. I have no idea how to fix it other than when the caps finally started entering the zone with control is when they had shots and did something.

Posted by: Iceman10 | January 12, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@ CAPSHOCKEY2 - I think that's a pretty solid, unbiased assessment - there's a reason he couldn't crack a pretty average Canada D-corps [ie., Boyle getting absolutely smoked by Kessel last night].

While there's no denying the physical talent, the decision-making seems to break down under heavy pressure [ie., the playoffs]; ideally you'd like elite d-men to have the opposite attribute, play better as the competition rises.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | January 12, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Green just turned 25 this year. He wants to be a complete D-man, and is trying hard to become one. He needs a good coach/line partner to mentor him. Maybe we can trade Semin for that guy or sign him for Semin's money this offseason.

Posted by: McLobo | January 12, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

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