On a night when everything seemed to go right for the Capitals, one had to be reminded that the team's captain and best player was not on the ice. The Capitals skated away with an easy victory in Sunrise, Florida tonight that ended with a football score after Brooks Laich kicked the extra point. The toothless Panthers were able to score only on easy plays given to them by the occasionally careless Capitals as Jose Theodore shut the door time after time.
Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun had a strong game with several highlight reel saves, but ultimately yielded the crease to backup Scott Clemmensen at 14:06 of the second period after allowing 5 goals. That change yielded a goal for the Panthers 22 seconds later, but otherwise the Capitals seemed like the only hockey team in this game.
The Capitals went 2-4 on the powerplay and 3-3 on the penalty kill. They were rewarded for crashing the crease and the Panthers couldn't put them on their rears so they had no fear of playing in the blue paint. Jason Chimera, who charged the goal mouth and scored a goal on a rebound of a Brendan Morrison shot, said "It's where your dad always tells you to go."
-Six different Capitals scored goals, 13 different Capitals recorded points.
-Brendan Morrison awoke from his slumber, scoring a nifty goal when the Panthers defensemen bumbled into each other, and had two assists and 6 shots on goal. His only blemish was the 40% faceoff win percentage. His line with Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera played well all night and all three players ended up with a goal.
-#needsmorebradley: The Professor played 14:15 tonight, which is more like it, and he played an integral role in Morrison's 4-on-4 goal early in the second period.
-Congratulations to Brooks Laich, who scored 2 goals and 3 points tonight to bump his season totals to a career high 24 goals and 54 points. He also tied his career high of 30 assists.
-It was nice to see Quintin Laing back after not being able to find ice time for the last many games.
-One has to be worried about the status of Boyd Gordon's back when he didn't return after only playing 1:05 on the night.
-Alexander Semin played well tonight, a goal and assist and 6 shot attempts (2 on goal) and a roughing penalty in which he took another scoring forward, Cory Stillman, off the ice with him.
-Jose Theodore is making a strong case to be the playoff starter. In fact, I'd be surprised if Semyon Varlamov played much more before the end of the season.
-Another sublime effort by Nicklas Backstrom, who finished with a goal and an assist.
-Florida coach Peter DeBoer never looks happy: