A Look Back
Florida and Washington were still division rivals the last time these two met, on April 6th last season. The 12-19-6 Panthers were playing at home against the 18-17-2 Caps, trying to string together a season high fourth straight win. Tomas Kopecky scored twice on four shots. Shawn Matthias added two assists and Peter Mueller also lit the lamp for the Panthers. Jacob Markstrom took the loss, allowing four goals on 31 shots in the 4-3 Washington victory.
Ovechkin had three goals and an assist to help the Capitals build a 4-0 lead, then had to hold off a three-goal third period by the Florida Panthers to win 4-3 at BB&T Center.
Ovechkin's 12th career hat trick gave him 13 goals in 13 games, and after a slow start he is now tied for second in the NHL with 23 goals, only two behind Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Last night, Washington put on an offensive show on the road in Philadelphia:
With Ovechkin sidelined by an upper-body injury, Joel Ward stepped up with his first career hat trick to lead the Capitals to a 7-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
"I thought we were outstanding today," Holtby said. "Obviously, some goals went in, but I thought our whole game was great. I thought the Flyers played a better game than a 7-0 game, and this shows how well we played. I thought this was our best effort of the year."
Capitals-Flyers line brawl leads to goalie fight (Video) (via Dokle Gfgfiss)
Florida Panthers: 3-8-2, eight points, .308, on pace for 50 points, seventh in the Atlantic Division, 14th in the Eastern Conference, tied for 27th in the NHL. Last five: W-O-L-O-L
Washington Capitals: 6-7-0, 12 points, .462, on pace for 76 points, third in the Metropolitan Divisioin, eighth in the Eastern Conference, tied for 18th in the NHL. Last five: W-W-L-L-W
Florida's leading scorer the last two seasons, Tomas Fleischmann, spent 2005-2010 with the Capitals. He played 283 regular season and 22 playoff matches, scoring 60 goals with 78 assists, a minus-11 rating and 94 minutes in the box.
Mike Weaver will play in his 205th Panther game, moving him past Juraj Kolnik into 39th.
Matthias has 44 assists, tied with Jody Hull,, and Ivan Novoseltsev in 46th. Fleischmann and each have 64 assists, If either of them get their 65th, they will tie captain . currently has 73 assists, in 21st place, and will move into the top 20 all-time with one more, tying Johan Garpenlov.
Probable Starting Lineups
- Tomas Fleischmann - Aleksander Barkov - Jonathan Huberdeau
- Sean Bergenheim - Nick Bjugstad - Kris Versteeg
- Shawn Matthias - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky
- Brad Boyes - Scott Gomez - Jesse Winchester
- Brian Campbell - Dmitry Kulikov
- Tom Gilbert - Mike Weaver
- Erik Gudbranson - Matt Gilroy
- Martin Erat - Nicklas Backstrom - Eric Fehr
- Marcus Johansson - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
- Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski - Joel Ward
- Aaron Volpatti - Michael Latta - Tom Wilson
- Nate Schmidt - Mike Green
- Karl Alzner - John Carlson
- John Erskine - Alexander Urbom
Braden Holtby - Michal Neuvirth
Brad Boyes - 5, Marcel Goc, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau -3
Tomas Fleischmann - 7, Brian Campbell - 5, Aleksander Barkov - 4
Tomas Fleischmann - 9, Aleksander Barkov, Brad Boyes - 7
Nick Bjugstad - 54.2% (45-of-83), Marcel Goc - 51.8% (117-of-226), Aleksander Barkov - 47.1% (81-of-172)
Shots on Goal
Tomas Fleischmann - 41, Kris Versteeg - 35, Tomas Kopecky - 32
Erik Gudbranson - 40, Dmitry Kulikov - 27, Jesse Winchester - 18
Mike Weaver - 35, Erik Gudbranson - 27, Shawn Matthias - 23
Mike Weaver - 35, Erik Gudbranson - 22, Brian Campbell, Tom Gilbert - 21
For Washington's take on events, Check out Japer's Rink. Check back here later for the GameThread, live tonight 1/2 hour prior to kickoff.