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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Capitals

The Cats host the Capitals in their first home game after the Olympic break.

Thursday, 02.27.2014 / 12:30 PM / Preview
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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The Lowdown: Panthers vs Capitals
The Cats host the Capitals in their first home game after the Olympic break.

THE LOWDOWN is a gameday preview produced by “Hockey Pat” McGrath, a lifelong Cats fan who previously wrote for the Florida Panthers themed blog “TheRatTrick”. The contents of THE LOWDOWN and all opinions expressed therein are solely those of Hockey Pat and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Panthers or Sunrise Sports & Entertainment LLC. Having said that, if you find yourself laughing or smiling as you read the LOWDOWN, feel free to thank us. We accept thank you notes, tweets and ticket purchases.

“The silences here are retreats of sound, like the retreat of the surf before a tidal wave: sound draining away, down slopes of acoustic passage, to gather, someplace else, to a great surge of noise.”

-Thomas Pynchon

The Basics


Panthers Capitals
Record 22-29-7 27-23-9
Points 51 63
Place 7th in Atlantic 5th in Metropolitan
Season Series 1-0-1 1-0-1

Do you feel that? That feeling that nestled into the depths of the deepest corner of your body last night before you went to bed only to bloom into state of full on manic vibration this morning when you woke up? If you are experiencing something like this you are either in the process of dialing the emergency room, frantically trying to steady your hands enough to access WebMD or you are just riding out the buzz because you know that you are just uncontrollably amped that the FLORIDA PANTHERS ARE BACK IN ACTION TONIGHT!!!!!

So in the immortal words of Ma$e, “Welcome back, welcome back wellll-ccome back”!

The last time:

The Florida Panthers will take on the Washington Capitals tonight at BB&T Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be the third and final meeting between the two former Southeast Division rivals. Both of the previous matches this season have gone to shootouts. The Capitals won 3-2 in Washington in early November and the Panthers won 3-2 at home in December. In case you forgot, the Cats win over Washington was the shootout that went ten rounds before Tomas Kopecky scored the game winner. Let’s pause for a second to bask in that moment:

Are we all feeling refreshed? Good…let’s continue.

Your “Young Gun” Lead Pipe Lock of The Night:

(Where I pick a young Panther to have a strong game and give a totally foolproof reason to back up that pick.)

The Pick: Drew Shore

Why?

While most of the Panthers spent their Olympic breaks getting some much needed rest and relaxation, Drew Shore was busy tearing it up with the Panthers’ minor league affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. Shore scored six points in his nine-game stint, a stretch that included a four-game goal streak that helped propel the Rampage back into the playoff hunt. So while most of the players on the ice will be shaking off some rust, Shore will be fresh and ready to go!

Capitals Olympic Struggles:

There is no denying that the Panthers had a tough Olympics with both their participants, Aleksander Barkov and Tomas Kopecky, bowing out with injuries. Bowing out with injuries however was nothing compared to Washington’s duo, Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, whose tournaments ended in bewilderment. Ovechkin only managed one goal as the captain of a Russia team that failed to medal while playing in their home country. Backstrom’s team, Sweden, fared better, eventually losing to Canada in the gold medal game, but Backstrom was unable to participate in the final after he failed an IOC drug test, due to the allergy meds he was taking….

Luckily the media was able to get a camera on Backstrom as he found out he would have to sit out the gold-medal game:

Olympians on bikes at Sochi:

Yes there was a cool hockey tournament taking place in Sochi but let’s be honest, the only reason we really tuned in was to see our favorite NHL players tweeting pictures of themselves riding bikes:

Sedin and Edler:

Selanne:

Mo Jo and Backstrom:

Off to the store to get some of that ‘allergy medication’.

Lundqvist:

Looks like King Henrik decided to let someone else do all the work for a change.

Karlsson and Hagelin:

Stray dogs:

Aside from hockey players on bikes, one of the great stories from Sochi was the number of Olympians adopting stray Russian dogs. US slope style skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy started the trend by Sarah McLachlan-ing the world and posting adorable pictures of the pups on twitter.

NHLer’s got into the spirit too. US Olympians David Backes and Kevin Shattenkirk may not have come home with any hardware but they did come home with some pups….and come on, that’s better than any medals right?

Of course it wouldn’t be a fun feel good story if someone didn’t turn it into a way to make fun of Alex Ovechkin. This time it was R.J Currie of Sportsdeke.com who came through with the dig at the “Great 8” saying,

“U.S. and Canadian Olympians have been adopting some of the over 1,000 stray dogs wandering around Sochi. In fact, someone just adopted Alex Ovechkin.”

Ways to spend Olympic break?

While the Olympics are awesome, some hockey fans (myself included) struggled with no NHL in their lives. I mean, man! Those games were early! How am I supposed to get up at 7:30 a.m. when I’m sleeping off a late Friday night at the bingo hall? Anyway here are some ways that I got my NHL-fix over the Olympic break.

  • Filmed my family 24/7 style for the “Road to Sunday Family Dinner”. Unfortunately I also tried and failed to do my best Liev Schreiber impression for the narration.
  • Watched Mighty Ducks 2 about 15 times, and realized that those multicolored Sochi Olympic jackets are pretty much straight rip-offs of the Trinidad and Tobago jerseys.
  • Went to my local rink and screamed taunts during youth hockey games…as there is a court date pending, I cannot say much.

Needless to say I am happy that the NHL is finally back.

Oscar Picks:

The 86th Academy Awards will be held this Sunday evening and that means, as somebody who writes on the internet, I am obligated to provide some Oscar picks, so here is who I think will win along with who I want to win….

Best Picture:
Who wins: 12 Years a Slave
‘Hockey’ Pat’s Pick: 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor in a leading role:
Who wins: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
‘Hockey’ Pat’s Pick: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)

Best Actress in a leading role:
Who wins: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
‘Hockey’ Pat’s Pick: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Director:
Who Wins: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
‘Hockey’ Pat’s Pick: Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

That’s all for now, enjoy the game tonight. Try to contain your excitement throughout the day, we don’t need anyone dropping the gloves at the office…but hey, if it happens, we totally understand!

Go Panthers!

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -3 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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