If I told you that the Florida Panthers gave the Washington Capitals eight power play chances in a game at the Verizon Center, you’d probably cringe and ask how bad did it get. A shutout wouldn’t seem like a surprise until I told you it was the Panthers who blanked the Caps 3-0 Thursday night.
The Cats survived a woeful first period that saw them give the Caps PP unit four cracks at Tomas Vokoun, including a 5-on-3 midway through the frame. Vokoun (36 saves) and the penalty kill unit provided a Herculean effort that allowed the Panthers to snap a six game losing streak the Caps in this, their first matchup of this season.
Michael Frolik roofed the game winner with 1.0 seconds left in the second period after a brief bit of chaos in front of Semyon Varlamov’s net. It was a bit of turnabout as the Panthers have allowed late period goals on multiple occasions this season. With 11:50 remaining in the game, Steve Bernier tapped in a rebound from a Stephen Weiss shot for the easiest goal he will ever score. Nine minutes later, Mike Santorelli reclaimed the team lead in goals, netting his eighth on a nice move to beat Varlamov on the PP, and sealed the Panthers win in the process.
I don’t know what else to say on this one. It was a strange win with all of the penalties committed (the refs were a little overzealous with the whistle) but there are a lot of positives in this. The win gives the Panthers their first three game winning streak of the season (two of them on the road against playoff teams). They FINALLY get a win against the Capitals who skated the Panthers out of the rink in five of their six meetings last season, and gives them a 5-2 record within the Southeast Division. It gives a team that is still battling injuries a huge jump in confidence as they move into a crucial part of the schedule. And it puts them just a game below .500, moves them into 10th in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of the last playoff spot. Next up is a trip to Smashville to fave the Predators on Saturday night.
Check out the game recap from our colleagues at CapitalsOutsider. Feels good to watch the others guys panic instead of us!
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