Long story short: Washington played Capitals hockey. The result is precisely what would be expected.
Stephen Weiss got back on the board with a goal in the second to tie the score at 1-1, but it was all Caps afterward. The effort of Tomas Vokoun - with 36 saves - simply could not keep pace with four lines of freight trains which Washington effortlessly employs.
Michael Neuvirth stopped 35 Panthers shots to gain the win.
What else can be said? The Cats came out strong in the opening minutes, but more importantly finished strong - with 17 SOG in the third - to keep the storyline interesting, if nothing more.
Not only can the Capitals play ridiculous offense, but defense as solid as any in the league. This club is built for the postseason.
The Panthers, however, are not. Whichever path the organization decides to travel in addressing their apparent holes, tonight's opponent should be the target model.