No one can really say the Washington Capitals suffer offensively with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green out of the line up. With both suffering from injuries and out of the line up against the Florida Panthers the Capitals didn't have much troubles putting up seven goals from five different players, including a 5 goal third period. The Caps would sweep the home and home from the Panthers as they win 7-4.
Mike Knuble had a monster night with two goals and two assists. Tomas Fleischmann also had a big night scoring a pair of goals. Brooks Laich, Quintin Laing and Mathieu Perreault (scoring his first career NHL goal) also added markers for the Capitals. Alex Semin was held with out a point as 13 different Capitals' players earned at least a point in tonight's game.
It was almost a carbon copy start from the previous game with Florida. The Caps seemed to have to thwart the Panther's advances before getting a hard working goal. But the second period differed from the night before as the Caps allowed three Panthers' goals and trailed going into the third period 3-2.
But the Capitals would take over things in the third period. Perreault started things off with his first career NHL goal. His goal was a wrap around that caught the Panthers' goaltender off gaurd and it tied the game at three. The Caps would take the lead just :40 seconds later as Matt Bradley found Laing in front of the net for a redirected goal. Laing would block a shot with his ribs in the first period, break his nose in the second period before his goal in the third.
The Panthers would get a goal to tie the Caps at four as Corey Stillman deflected a shot from the point past Jose Theodore. But the Caps kept coming and Fleischmann got the lead back with a tight-in shot. Knuble would add another goal as he tipped in a Shaone Morrisonn shot and Fleischmann would add another goal to finish off the Caps' five goals in the third period.
The Capitals played a much better "grit" game against a Panther team that would have rather played it more wide open. 5 of the seven goals scored tonight were goals not further out than 10 feet from the net and often the result of winning a battle along the boards. It seems the Caps are a much more of a grittier team with Ovechkin and Green out of the line up.
Theodore didn't play poorly, but he was not as sharp as he was the night before in Sunrise, Florida. He was often the victim of misplays by his team mates on the goals against. Case in point; Milan Jurcina was a pitiful minus 4 on the night.
While the Caps have now a two game win streak going, they still have some mental breakdowns in their zone. It isn't as noticeable against a lesser team like Florida, but could be tougher when the Caps will struggle to get on the scoreboard against teams with much better defense and goaltending. Semin's pair of penalties still hindered the Caps in the second period.
The Caps will face off with the Islanders (again) on Wednesday night. It is unclear if Ovechkin will be ready by then, considering doctors have told him to stop practicing with the team as he nurses his injury. Green and Schultz are also questionable for Wednesday night, for now. They will be reevaluated soon.
- Fleischmann has extended his point streak to 5 games with 5 goals and 2 assists. Laich has a four game point streak going where he has 3 goals and 3 assists in that span.
- The salary Cap will hinder the Capitals if Ovechkin returns to the line up. Most likely, Perreault will be sent back down to Hershey after his solid play in the line up for the Caps in the past couple of games. Perreault earned the hard hat in the Caps win tonight, and got a shaving cream pie for his efforts.
- Semin has been held pointless in the last two games (since his two assists against Columbus on Nov. 1). He also had two minor penalties; one for tripping and the other for cross checking. He has 8 minor penalties on the year with six of them coming in the offensive zone (@David_Getz).