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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  -
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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


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:


Mo Jo and Backstrom:

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


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 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!




1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43


N. Bjugstad 62 22 15 -8 37
J. Jokinen 61 6 28 -1 34
J. Huberdeau 59 9 24 2 33
A. Ekblad 62 9 23 8 32
B. Boyes 60 10 21 8 31
J. Jagr 58 11 18 -11 29
J. Hayes 53 17 10 -5 27
B. Campbell 62 3 19 3 22
A. Barkov 51 9 12 -6 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98 is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.