Yandle's bizarre penalty, Caps find Panthers' weakness and Holtby's league-leading win

J.J. Regan

WASHINGTON -- The Capitals and Florida Panthers kept things close all game long, but a two-goal third period for Washington allowed the Caps to narrowly escape with the 4-3 win.

Check out a recap of the game here.

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Observations from the win

Speed along the wall

The Caps definitely saw something in the Panthers' defense they wanted to exploit which is why each of the last three goals all looked similar. Washington wanted to attack Florida's defense with speed along the wall. On the second goal, Richard Panik took off when he saw Jonas Siegenthaler had the puck and was wheeling around the net. Siegenthaler got it to him and, while the defense kept him to the outside, Panik was able to fire a shot from the faceoff dot to beat Sergei Bobrovsky.

On the third goal, Lars Eller skated into the neutral zone and Jakub Vrana streaked up along the boards. Eller found him and he had enough of a step on the defense to get a nice shot away. Bobrovsky made the initial save and kicked out the huge rebound right to Eller who shot it into the net.

Leipsic contributed the fourth goal as he skated up the boards and Radko Gudas hit him in stride allowing him to get a step on the defense. Leipsic tucked the puck through Bobrovsky's 5-hole with the nice backhand.

A weird penalty

Florida defenseman Keith Yandle took a penalty in the final minute of the game and it was a strange one. Eller was looking for a new stick from the bench and Caps' head equipment manager Brock Myles tried to hand it to him. Yandle was right next to the becnh as this was happening and whacked the stick away not once, but twice taking the interference penalty.

"Eller broke his stick off the draw and then he's coming to the bench to get a new stick and he grabbed the stick, but he was right next to the bench," Reirden said. "Yandle was there and he knocked it out of his hands."

I am not sure I have ever seen a player get a penalty for trying to knock away a stick from an equipment manager. Kudos to Myles for drawing the penalty.

Turning point

The Caps were not able to build off the momentum from Alex Ovechkin's goal or Panik's goal. Once Eller scored, however, the Caps finally looked like they were in control. That shot by Vrana? That was definitely an intentional pass. He shot it looking for the rebound to go to Eller.

Play of the game

Evgeny Kuznetsov drew the defense with him giving Alex Ovechkin enough room to deke and shoot.

Also, you have to give credit to former Cap Brett Connolly. This was a pretty breakaway goal.

Stat of the game

Given the way the season started, did anyone think Braden Holtby would be tied for the league lead in wins at Thanksgiving? I didn't.

Quote of the game

Penalties have been a problem for the Caps this season. As Reirden was describing the bizarre Yandle penalty, he could not help but give a bit of a shot to his own team.

"For a change it was an undisciplined penalty by the opposition that helped decide that game."

Fan predictions

Well, you got the Caps' goals right. Four for the Caps and one for Ovechkin.

Caps actually gave up 40 shots on goal and only took 20. No posts. Washington won and only Ovechkin got a goal from that list. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

Oh and happy birthday!

I love this bit.

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Yandle's bizarre penalty, Caps find Panthers' weakness and Holtby's league-leading win originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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