Since the penalty shootout was instituted in 2005, the NHL had hoped that regular season contests would come to a rather sudden, exciting conclusion. On Friday night, however, the Washington Capitals versus the Florida Panthers contest may have been exciting, but wasn’t all that short. The game was the one of the longest of the shootout era, as it took the Panthers ten rounds in the shootout before finally knocking out the Caps.
The match up was tight throughout the night, as Washington had several opportunities in the opening minutes, as a goal by Mike Green was waived off due to goalie interference. Finally, in the second period the Panthers broke through when Dylan Olsen sent a snap shot from a difficult angle to the net. Then, in a four on four situation, Nicklas Backstrom answered for the Capitals with an uncontested wrist shot.
Carolina responded in a hurry when Aleksander Barkov took control of an unsettled situation beating Phillip Grubauer. Just two minutes seconds later, Washington earned a power play, and Joel Ward cleaned up a Marcus Johansson shot in front of the net to knot the score at two a piece. This would be all the scoring fans would see for the night, as Grubauer and Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen turned it on in the final session and awaited the penalty shootout. After back and forth goals for the first few shots, the teams hit a cold streak as both goalies made five consecutive saves. Then, it was Thomas Kopecky who skated around mid ice before taking the puck and beating Grubauer for the penalty shootout win. Washington will drop to 17-12-3 on the season, and will gear up for a trip home to face-off against the Philadelphia Flyers.