GIF: Tim Thomas Saves The Panthers … From His Butt

Tied at four with under five minutes remaining, Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green found himself on a breakaway with a chance to potentially put the final nail in the Panthers’ coffin for the evening.

Possibly caught off guard by Green’s swift exit from the penalty box, Panthers’ netminder Tim Thomas fell to the ice while coming out to challenge the charging Capitals skater.

As Panthers’ fans quickly covered their eyes at what looked to be a sure goal, a miracle happened.

Unable to get back up in time, Thomas sprawled out and made possibly his most spectacular save of the season … from his butt.

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Watch: Panthers Defeat Capitals in 10th Round of the Shootout

Coming off of a big shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night, the Florida Panthers looked to build off of their momentum as the red hot dynamic duo Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom came to town, Friday night.

With goals coming from newcomer Dylan Olsen and rookie Aleksander Barkov, the Panthers were in the driver seat for the majority of the game. While the Panthers were able to keep Alex Ovechkin off of the score sheet, his right-hand man Nicklas Backstrom came up huge as he tallied a goal and an assist to give the Capitals hope, bringing them into the 3rd period tied with Panthers, 2-2.

Scott Clemmensen and Philipp Grubauer stood tall and made key saves for their respective teams in the 3rd period, sending the game into overtime, and eventually a wild shootout.

The Panthers and the Capitals participated in a nerve-wracking shootout which lasted 10 rounds. In fact, tonight’s shootout was tied for the 2nd longest in Panthers’ franchise history (longest was also against the Capitals, 11/28/07). Tomas Kopecky would be the one to finish it off and grab the Florida Panthers their 4th win in 5 games.

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Barkov and Grabovski Score Identical Shootout Goals

After the Florida Panthers saw their 2nd shut out loss against the St. Louis Blues last night, a major bounce back game was in store for the struggling Panthers squad. Coming into the Verizon Center with a chip on their shoulder, the Panthers outplayed the Washington Capitals from start to finish, but couldn’t come up with the win as they lost 3-2 in a shootout. While a loss is never something to boast about, Aleksander Barkov finally dazzled his fans with his Forsberg-esque shoot out move, which was seen just seconds prior by Capitals first shooter, Mikhail Grabovski

Below is a video of Grabovski and Barkov both scoring the very famous Forsberg deke in the shootout.

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter:  @davidlasseter, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop, and Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like and share anything you wish with us.

Tyson Strachan Signs With Washington

After not re-signing with the Florida Panthers prior to the start of free agency, defenseman and UFA Tyson Strachan has reportedly signed a 2-way deal with the Washington Capitals. Although signing a 2-way deal usually inquires that a player will likely be spending a lot of time with their team’s Minor League affiliate, the Capitals have a shotty defense which could certainly use Tyson’s “Stay at home” defensive stlye.

In July of 2011, Strachan signed a one year, two-way deal with the Florida Panthers where he saw a lot of time with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. It wasn’t until January of 2012 when Strachan was called up to the Panthers for the first time to replace an injured Dmitry Kulikov. Strachan may be most known for his 1st and only goal he ever scored with the Panthers which was a shot from the point that came off a Marcel Goc faceoff win. The fan favorite slogan “Release the Strachan” was born.

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Panthers Sign RW Joey Crabb

The Florida Panthers have already been quietly busy this morning signing RFA Shawn Matthias to a 2 year 1.75$ AVV deal. In addition to this signing, the Panthers announced Friday afternoon that they signed RW Joey Crabb to a 2 year deal.

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Preview: Eastern Conference Playoff Matchups

The Eastern Conference playoff quarterfinal matchups present some interesting games to watch.  Each series promises to be a hard fought battle and the team with the most skill and resiliency will come out ahead.

Here’s a sneak peak at each matchup:

1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 8) New York Islanders:  The Pittsburgh Penguins have been on autopilot for most of the season despite being without Sidney Crosby for the past 12 games.  The veteran Penguins will take on an inexperienced Islanders team that is relying heavily on goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and young forward John Tavares.  The Penguins who’ll be going for their 4th Cup, are loaded with experience and grit, and added more with the deadline acquisitions of Jarome Iginla and Brenden MorrowSidney Crosby is slated to miss game one, and it’s not sure exactly when he’ll return.  Needless to say, there’s enough offence to go around.  As for the Islanders, it’s all about their offence, hard work and good goaltending.  John Tavares is growing into quite the offensive force, and is well supported by Matt Moulson and a fiesty, gritty group as well.  This could be a fun series.  Players to watch are James Neal and Chris Kunitz for Pittsburgh and Tavares, Moulson and Evgeni  Nabokov.  As good as Pittsburgh is, this Islanders team could give them fits. Prediction:  Penguins in six.

2) Montreal Canadiens vs. 7) Ottawa Senators:  This will be the only first round-all Canadian series amongst the 16 teams.  Montreal who slipped down the stretch is still the favourite of this series, but by a slim margin.  Goaltender Carey Price of the Canadiens hold the future of this Montreal club in his hands.  In a turnaround season for Montreal they will need a collective effort from everyone to get past Ottawa.  As for the Sens, they’ve battled adversity all season long with injuries to Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson.  A  number of younger players chipped in and helped overcome the challenges that Ottawa faced.  Players to watch are rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk of Montreal and Daniel Alfredsson, Cory Conacher and defencemen Erik Karlsson and Sergei Gonchar for Ottawa.  Prediction: Montreal in seven.

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Alex Ovechkin’s Heroics May Be Overstated

Although Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Sidney Crosby has had a firm grasp on the Hart Trophy for the majority of the 2012-2013 season, his recent injury has opened up the door for several other skaters around the league to potentially take home this year’s MVP award. The most surprising name now beginning to be muttered around NHL circles as a potential Hart candidate has to be the once dormant Washington Capitals’ forward, Alex Ovechkin. In his last 12 games, Ovechkin has led the Capitals to the top of the Southeast Division by scoring an astounding 21 total points in that time. While these exploits may sound heroic and worthy of Hart Trophy consideration, a closer look at Ovechkin’s statistics this season show that his success this year may not be as impressive as some people initially thought.

Note: Statistics are accurate as of the morning of April 9th, 2013.

A Closer Look At Alex Ovechkin’s Statistics

  • Of Ovechkin’s 25 goals this season, 15 have been scored against goaltenders who started the 2013 season in the AHL or as a backup – Bishop, Markstrom, Clemmensen, Ellis, Peters, Montoya, Enroth, Hedberg.
  • Of Ovechkin’s 25 goals, 14 have been scored against the Jets, Panthers, Hurricanes, and Lightning – all four of which are in the bottom 8 of goals allowed per game in the entire NHL.
  • Ovechkin has 89 more shots than the next highest player on the Capitals’ roster. This is the largest player shot disparity in the NHL – the 2nd largest is Evander Kane with 50 more shots than the next highest player on the Winnipeg Jets.

Ovechkin’s Most Frequent Victims

  • Florida Panthers: 6 Goals Scored – Team GAA: 3.36 – 29th in the NHL
  • Carolina Hurricanes: 3 Goals Scored – Team GAA: 3.16 – 28th in the NHL
  • Winnipeg Jets: 3 Goals Scored – Team GAA: 2.95 – 23rd in the NHL
  • Buffalo Sabres:  3 Goals Scored – Team GAA: 2.92 – 22nd in the NHL

What Does It All Mean?

Upon closer review of Ovechkin’s impressive goal total this season it seems as if I have found a common trend. While there is no doubt that scoring 25 goals in just 39 games is very impressive regardless of the circumstances, the fact that Ovechkin has seen the majority of his success against inferior opponents should factor into his Hart Trophy consideration.
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Panthers Rally Too Little, Too Late Against Capitals

If Florida Panthers fans can find one bright spot in next year’s division realignment plan, it’s that they no longer have to face the Washington Capitals six times a season. Over the past few years, no team has frustrated the Cats more than their division rival from the US capital. This season alone has been a microcosm of that frustration as the Panthers entered Saturday’s game 0-2-1, including a pair of blowout losses on the road. This game took on much of that same look as the Caps built a 4-0 lead through two periods. Despite a furious third period rally, the Panthers fell 4-3 in their final game against Washington as a division opponent.
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Washington Still House Of Horrors For Panthers

If there’s a bright side to the 7-1 pistol whipping the Florida Panthers took from the Washington Capitals Thursday night was the news that the now NHLPA-approved realignment plan would mean less trips to the Verizon Center. Outside of that, the game was a complete disaster that saw the Capitals take a 4-0 advantage less than nine minutes into the first period. Goals from John Erskine and former Panther Wojtek Wolski chased starting netminder Jacob Markstrom (the only two shots he faced) 3:10 into the game.
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Game Day Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals. Growin’ Up

FLORIDA PANTHERS: 7-11-5 (19 PTS.) vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS: 9-11-1 (19 PTS.)

TSN GAMEDAY

GAMEDAY SONG: GROWIN’ UP

Tonight’s matchup between the Florida Panthers and the Washington Capitals could be labled as the battle of the basement, however it’s clearly more about two teams that have been enormously disappointing.  The two clubs who fought tooth and nail for much of last season for the Southeast division crown, now find themselves scratching and clawing for a playoff spot in what could be the weakest or least challenging division of the six.  The Capitals who on paper should be in a better position than they are, have underachieved.  This is a roster that has Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Wojtek Wolski.  Alright, kidding about the last one, but with all the talent that the Caps have, their record should be better.

The leading point producer for Washington is Mike Ribeiro, a player who is talented, sneaky and pesky at the same time.  Ribeiro has eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points, and has five power play goals which tie him with Alex Ovechkin for the team lead.  Speaking of Ovechkin, when has he ever been such a non factor? In 21 games Alex has eight goals, nine assists, is a minus 4 and has been a real enigma this season.  He’s shown periods of disinterest, flashes of his old self, and of course embarassing academy award performances like this.  He’s basically hit the trifecta of confusion.  If not for his four point night against the New Jersey Devils on February 23rd, his seasonal numbers would look even more bleak.

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