Fans in Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Raleigh can sleep easier tonight: Florida held on for a divisional victory. It wasn't easy, as an early three-goal lead again proved too little to carry the Cats to a regulation win, but just enough to bring on the extra frame, setting up this beauty by Dennis Wideman, engineered by a sweet Cory Stillman-led turnaround (assists to Stephen Weiss - his third of the night - and Stiller):
Didn't have to be a Panthers follower for very long to figure the above outcome was not only unlikely, but highly improbable. Gotta hand it to DeBoer & Company on this one.
What's left of our collective fingernails were shortened to battered nubs following Marcus Johansson (2 goals) and Mike Knuble's efforts to corral the game in after allowing three straight to open the evening, courtesy of Michael Santorelli, Marty Reasoner, and David Booth. Yes, we have, of course, seen this before.
A solid start to a season-hinging homestand. At this point, everyone's "on the block".
Notes: Alex Ovechkin was a +1 with 6 SOG and 1 assist. Dennis Wideman (1g, 1a, -1) equaled Ovie's shots; Michael Frolik, Bryan McCabe, and Weiss all collected 4 shots apiece. Weiss led all but WAS defenseman Mike Green in TOI with 25:56; somehow clocked in with a -2 after three assists. Evgeny Dadonov was a game-worst -3 (and 4 pim!) despite 3 SOG in 14:12. No members of the Caps finished with less than a -1. Michal Neuvirth stopped 37 shots while Tomas Vokoun turned aside 30. Florida assists: Wideman, Weiss (3), Radek Dvorak, McCabe, Stillman (2). More from Japers' Rink here.
Next up: Prehistoric felines with a severe overbite on Thursday; Live Game Chat at 6pm.