Today was the day the Panthers were set to open their 2012-2013 road schedule. They were to face off against the Washington Capitals, a team they mightily struggled against but beat out for the division crown last season. Obviously, we know this isn’t happening thanks to the lockout but why not look at what was sure to be a good series this season?
Last season, the Capitals took the series four games to two. However, the Panthers won two of three at the former Bank Atlantic Center (now BB&T Center). (Source: Florida Panthers) Of course, as we know both teams made the playoffs last season. The Panthers battled toe-to-toe with the New Jersey Devils in Round 1, losing only on a double overtime goal in Game 7, while the Capitals beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in that same round before losing to the New York Rangers in Round 2.
The most intriguing part of these teams battles would have to be the goaltending. The Panthers return both Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, with Jacob Markstrom waiting in the wings ready whenever needed, while the Capitals return Michal Neuvirth with last season’s playoff hero, Braden Holtby, waiting for his turn. (Source: Florida Panthers & Washington Capitals) We also have plenty of offensive firepower in this matchup, with Alex Ovechkin and others against the likes of Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and more.
Another thing that would be intriguing to watch this season, if we happen to have a season, would be seeing which team was more motivated. In other words, who wants it more? The Panthers won the Southeast Division title last season but had a losing record against the Caps. The Caps, on the other hand, were pretty good against the Panthers last season but lost the title because they struggled against some other SE Division teams.
Of course, this was sure to be a great matchup. Will it happen at all this season? That seems to be the question everyone’s asking these days. Regardless of whether it happens or not we can still show our team pride. In that case, Panther fans, why don’t you shout it out loud so everyone can hear?…WE. SEE. RED!!!!!