An ugly affair in the District, as the Caps threw down on Florida, winning the tail end of the first home-and-home between the clubs 7-4. Scott Clemmensen (25 saves) took the loss.
Once more, Washington's pure goodness was evident, especially in a third period which featured five goals by the host club.
These are not the numbers of a winner, Cats fans. The final frame opened with a 3-2 Panthers lead. LEAD.
Congrats to Bruce Boudreau and his troops. Again.
KEYS TO THE VICTORY
- It really all came down to the third period, given the Panthers' younglings picking up the slack early, but Washington simply poured it on: Perrault, Laing, Knuble (4 points!), and Tomas Fleischmann with two goals made it count. A classic "schooling" by the home team.
- Three Panthers finished with a "plus": Michal Repik, and Dmitry Kulikov...all were a plus 1. An aside: Kulikov got his first NHL goal while Victor Oreskovich scored his first NHL assist. Hats off to them!
- The Caps continued what they displayed last night: blocking shots and getting to the puck are part and parcel of a winning club. One word: tenacity. Not that Florida didn't display their own version, simply that the Caps know this game, inside and out. Gonna take more that hope and effort to beat them. Or Pittsburgh. Etcetera...
- Goaltender Scott Clemmensen looked lousy. Most nights I'm willing to chalk up a loss to those defending the netminder (or lack of same) but Clemmer wasn't there. Not a good sign from the guy who made us forget Martin Brodeur for a spell.
- The Cats picked up their hitting, checking, and overall intensity, but against a squad like Washington, it didn't matter. A three goal differential tells the tale.
A few days off before the next match late in the week; hopefully some changes are made beyond the lineups. Not going to win anything meaningful with the current attitude.