Despite Bad Loss to Capitals, Cross-Conference Decision Helps Panthers Clinch

April 5, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Jay Beagle (83) shoots the puck on Florida Panthers goalie Jose Theodore (60) in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE


Final - 4.5.2012 1 2 3 Total
Buffalo Sabres 0 1 0 1
Philadelphia Flyers 0 0 2 2

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That's the important bit. Yes, a sea of misery washed away from the Florida Panthers franchise in a game that had the Cats' Southeast Division hopes on the line, the biggest and best news of the evening didn't even come out of Verizon Center. All eyes were elsewhere, and with around three minutes on the clock in Washington, Panthers fans watched as time ran out on the 12 year playoff drought. Buffalo lost. Maybe I've only been watching for a fraction of that time, but one could certainly sense enough was enough for the diehards who'd crosses their fingers for a decade hoping it would be the year. Well, it had to end eventually, and wouldn't you know it would come to pass in a game Florida would ultimately drop, just like old times. The Hockey Gods smiled down on the Panthers, but not without imparting a bit of irony to the situation afterwards.

As for the outcome of the game between Florida and the Capitals? Oh, Florida blew it alright. I could rail the decision making of the coaching staff and the lacking effort of certain players until the cows come home, but I figure I'll have plenty of time in the future to do that. Right now, I have a parade to plan.

You want recaps, but not mine? Please, I'm begging you to not find other recaps at Japers' Rink and SBN Florida

Scoring Summary:

1st:

-05:42 Jay Beagle(4) assists to Troy Brouwer and Carl Alzner

2nd:

-07:49 Alex Ovechkin(37) assist to Marcus Johansson

-09:49 Brooks Laich(16) assists to Keith Aucoin and Roman Hamrlik

-15:41 Mikael Samuelsson(13) assists to Marcel Goc and Brian Campbell

3rd:

-00:42 Ed Jovanovski(3) assists to Campbell and Jason Garrison. When was the last time three defenders connected for a goal?

-18:58 Alexander Semin(21) assists to Laich and Dmitry Orlov

Observations:

  • Michal Neuvirth and Jose Theodore would be given the reigns of their respective teams, which is fine by me. I personally claim Neuvirth's suckiness is a good thing for Florida, but at the same time Washington fans probably believe the same thing about Theodore. I'm never against a high scoring game, folks.
  • You know what Japer's guys do with their recaps? Acrostics. I wish I had that kind of foresight to incorporate something like that into my ramblings. Of course, when the Panthers have me stabbing out my eyes with their turnovers and sloppy play I'm glad I still have a semi-conscious stream of thoughts after these kinds of games.
  • Kris Versteeg has been better of late, he doesn't look like the one-man-army he'd tried a few games ago and appears to be holding his stick a bit less tightly. Steeg also has returned to the front of net where he was finding goals earlier in the season.
  • Shawn Matthias would be tonight's Questionable Dineen Scratch with Danger sitting for Jerred Smithson. Though, in reality I'm completely in-line with the call, as Matthias has been the second coming of Frolik with his invisibility in the second half. Sometimes I forget he's even on the team.
  • Jay Beagle would put the Caps up by one early as Beagle picked up a blocked point shot dribbling between the circles where he'd quickly net it over Theodore. Call that one unlucky, as Beagle was in no-mans land as far as the defense were concerned on that kind of play.
  • After a couple of shots on Michal Neuvirth from one Dmitry Kulikov, Brayden Holtby would have to throw his hat aside as Neuvirth looked to pull something. Whatever it was, Neuvy was grimacing pretty badly has the trainers assisted him to the locker room.
  • Alex Ovechkin would take advantage of a Weaver-Kulikov misread and sink the rebound after a one touch shot from Marcus Johansson in the left corner. Kulikov has not looked good since he has returned from injury, not that anyone has looked good
  • See, there are guys on a team who are captains without wearing the 'C'. That's what Brooks Laich is, the real captain of the Capitals. As for the unnamed captain of the Panthers? Well, there isn't one, and one shouldn't be named.
  • Jose Theodore is horrid right now, and this isn't just a sentiment coming from his last five periods. Ever since the Carolina game, Theodore's less than spectacular play has been masked by the team's bad play as a whole, but the Winnipeg breakdown and lame showing against Washington is an example of "as a goaltender, you have to be better than that".
  • It gets better, of course. Dineen would make the right call by pulling Theodore after the third goal in favor of Scott Clemmensen. Well, after a TV timeout Theo would drift back into the blue paint. Theodore shouldn't have started the game anyways, and no way in the world he should be back in goal after three goals, whether his fault or not. Remember the last time Florida was in a playoff push and DeBoer tried to ride a hot goalie who simply wasn't hot? Yeah, same thing right now. Things like that were why Anderson left Florida, and I'm wondering if Clemmensen will follow suit.
  • Mikael Samuelsson would finally put the Panthers on the scoreboard. First time Florida scored in Washington ALL year. Yay for baby-steps!
  • Well, you can say a lot of things about how...terrible the Panthers are, but everyone will admit they're a resilient bunch. Ed Jovanovski would send a garbage shot on goal that deflected off the Washington center and roll off the jersey of Stephen Weiss into the cage, Holtby would miss it entirely. Better to be lucky than good?
  • Brian Campbell broke a team record for assists(49) by a defenseman with his second helper of the night. Still want to complain about his contract?
  • The pace of the game slowed considerably after Jovo's tally, Washington locked things down and foiled the Panthers at the blueline. the Panthers would get a rush now and again, but it appeared Holtby was gaining his confidence back in the net.
  • Well, it was a good try, but Florida really needs to quit with the big game no-shows.

Chris' First Star: Well, Jovanovski did get his first goal since November. Cheers to that Granps!

Chris' Worst Star: Lots of options, but I'll leave it up to you to decide who. I'm just surprised Florida made a mostly legitimate comeback. Oh and Billy Lindsay.

Up Next: Well, the Panthers have their last game of the season against my absolute favorite opponent in the NHL, the Carolina Hurricanes. Yes, that was a lie. I'd love nothing more in the world than to whoop the Hurricanes to end the season. Playoff implications or not, just beat them because they're them. Panthers and Hurricanes of Carolina, heads roll 7:30 on Saturday.

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