Holtby's gigantic save, Wilson's accidental goal and a penalty kill surprise

J.J. Regan
NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals were locked in a wild one with the Florida Panthers, but they emerged with the 5-4 overtime victory. That is Washington's fifth straight win and their 10th straight game with at least a point.

Observations from the win

The Panthers are really good

Florida was one of the busiest teams in the offseason and, while they had a slow start to the season, it is clear from watching this team that these guys are really, really good.

The speed and skill in which Florida is able to distribute the puck is scary. The big three in the Atlantic of Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay is not set in stone and the Panthers are going to make noise this season.

Don't get into a track meet

When Washington gets caught in a game like this -- a back-and-forth game trading chance for chance, odd-man break for odd-man break -- it often does not go well for them. The Caps have speed and offensive skill to keep up somewhat, but they are at their best when they are playing a physical cycle. When they get caught into a game like we saw Thursday, they are letting the Panthers dictate the style and pace of the game. When you play the way another team wants to, it takes away what you want to do and we saw that. The Caps clamped down a bit more as the game went on, but the start was especially awful.

Yes, the Caps escaped with the win, but the defense looked awful doing it. They looked so scrambly and out of sync for much of the night. It took a big performance from Braden Holtby to save this one, which you don't usually hear for a goalie who gave up four goals.

Penalty kill leader

Interesting note from today's game. The Caps faced five power plays on the night. Who got the most shorthanded ice time? Nick Jensen who led the team with 3:46.

Turning point

Coming into Thursday's game, the Caps had lost four straight against Florida including all three matchups last season. When the Panthers scored three straight to take a 3-1 lead, it seemed like we were headed for a similar result Thursday until Evgeny Kuznetsov faked out everyone on the ice with his fake shot to set up Alex Ovechkin for one of the easier goals of his career.

It was a different game after Ovechkin's first goal. The Caps were right back in it on a night that seemed to be slipping away.

Play of the night

At the very start of overtime, the Panthers set up Aaron Ekblad beautifully in alone on Holtby. He deked the Caps' netminder, but Holtby managed to stretch the pad to deny him for the brilliant save. Ekblad tried to force that puck through the pad, but Holtby held strong.

As happens in overtime, one big chance on one end often leaves the team vulnerable on the other. Off the save, the Caps took the puck the other way with Tom Wilson burying the 2-on-1 for the overtime winner.

Stat of the night

The Caps have been incredible on the road to start this season.

Quote of the night

Tom Wilson scored the game-tying goal in the third period in a play off the faceoff. It worked, but not quite the way in which it was intended.

"If I'm being honest, that was the complete opposite of the play that we had drawn up. We had something else going and it just worked out so maybe we'll put that one in the playbook."

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Fan predictions

They have been recently. Not tonight though.

Nailed it.

Brett Connolly got on the board once. This wasn't a bottom-six game, the stars delivered for Washington in this one.

So close! Both had two goals.

This was actually pretty close. Ovechkin (2 goals, 1 assist), Wilson (2 goals) and Kuznetsov (3 assists) all had multi-point nights. T.J. Oshie killed you though. He had zero points.


Holtby's gigantic save, Wilson's accidental goal and a penalty kill surprise originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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