We'll say this for what went on in D.C. Thursday: it was nail-biting, hair-pulling, and generally maddening for Florida fans...all the way to the final horn. Oh, and Tomas Vokoun reintroduced himself as one of the best to any potentially remaining doubters.
Looking for evidence? Try this: 36 saves overall including 13:54 total power play minutes on eight penalty calls - ranging from generally reasonable to the downright fictional - paced by 18 saves in the first frame. Dude was on.
Florida's netminder - on an expiring contract - played June hockey in December. If there's confidence of any sort in The Room, he positively feeds off of it.
On the scoresheet, the Panthers' Michael Frolik scored his 6th of the year (and same against Washington in 13 career games) to lead off at 19:59(!) of the second frame, while Steve Bernier and Michael Santorelli banged home the insurance markers at 8:10 and 17:26 of the third, respectively.
On a personal note, this was a miraculous effort by all involved; swatting aside eight power plays by fourth-ranked Washington wasn't enough: turning the tables by keeping the play close and quick-shifted against a proven regular-season juggernaut throughout a lopsided affair (defensively) was more than most jaded fan could ask. Beyond remarkable; perhaps the best game we've witnessed in two seasons. Kudos to Pete DeBoer, Jim Hulton, and especially Gord Murphy's work on the "D".
Quickly: David Booth (0 points) led all skaters with 7 SOG, while Washington's Eric Fehr collected 6. Steven Reinprecht, Jason Garrison, Stephen Weiss (2), Dmitry Kulikov, and Dennis Wideman all recorded assists. Dennis Wideman led all Panthers in TOI with 26:27; Mike Green paced everyone with 29:19. Aex Ovechkin had 5 SOG. Rookie Evgeni Dadonov played a spectacular secondary role with 2 SOG. Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom combined for 4 SOG, -1. More from our divisional playmates at Japers' Rink right here.
Next up: Cats at Predators, Saturday. Live Game Chat at 6pm. Or maybe 6:30. We'll see.