Washington started out applying more pressure to Jose Theodore than did Florida against Tomas Vokoun. The Caps would end up outshooting the Panthers 7-1 through the first 6:24 of the matchup.
Florida would go on the first power play of the night when Tomas Vokoun was called for holding Tomas Kopecky with eight minutes gone in the period. Mike Knuble would serve the penalty for the Caps. Washington cleared the puck out a total of five times against only one shot allowed.
Roman Hamrlik flipped the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty with eight minutes left in the period for Florida’s second man advantage of the night. Florida would collect one shot on goal, but were unable to break the seal on the scoreboard, as the Caps cleared the puck out four times to end the threat.
Erik Gudbranson was called for roughing with six minutes remaining to give the Caps a power play opportunity. Washington kept consistent pressure on Theodore throughout the power play, getting five shots on the goaltender plus one more off the crossbar.
With less than a minute left in the period, Stephen Weiss slowly skated into the Capitals zone on the right side, circling around Vokoun’s net and dishing it to Tomas Fleischmann (19) for a wrister over the goaltender’s left shoulder. It was Florida’s first goal on Vokoun on their 74th shot against the former Panther in 139 minutes this season. That’s a .986 save percentage. Brian Campbell also earned an assist on the play.
Brian Campbell was called for slashing Troy Brouwer at the five minute mark. The Panthers kept the puck out of their own zone pretty well, allowing one pretty good shot on Jose Theodore and clearing the puck several times.
The Caps were throwing everything at Theodore, collecting 10 shots to two for Florida through the period’s first 12 minutes. The Florida goaltender, however, was a brick wall, stopping everything thrown his way.
Mike Knuble scored the apparent equalizer with 45 seconds left in the period, but the goal was immediately waved off, and Knuble called for interference to put the Cats up a man to end the period. Florida got some good pressure on Vokoun, but the period ended without any changes to the scoreboard.
The Caps broke into the Florida zone after the penalty ended with a three on two chance. Mike Weaver blocked his team leading 96th shot of the season by timing the shot then lying in front of it.
Mikael Samuelsson was called for slashing John Carlson at the four minute mark. On the power play, Mike Knuble smacked Mike Weaver in the face with his stick when he was trying to slap the puck in the net. Weaver lay immobile on the ice and Alex Ovechkin (24) put the puck home to tie the game up at one with assists by Knuble and Alexander Semin.
Krys Barch was called for a tripping penalty just moments later to put the Capitals back on the power play. The Cats cleared the puck out, unfortunately right into the officials face. The rest of the penalty ended without incident.
Keaton Ellerby gave the Caps another man advantage with 10 minutes left to play in regulation when he high sticked Mathieu Perrault. Replays showed that Ellerby never touched Perrault with the stick, but the Caps forward sold it to the officials. The power play ended two minutes later after six puck clears and one shot on goal.
Alexander Semin (16) gave the Caps their first lead of the night with six minutes left in regulation with a slap shot from the right point to beat Theodore just above his glove. Dmitry Orlov assisted on the goal.
Samuelsson boarded ex-Panther Dennis Wideman with a cheap shot at the 15 minute mark, but killed the Caps fourth man advantage of the period, and sixth of the night.
The Panthers pulled the goalie with a minute left, and despite some serious pressure, couldn’t even the score. The Panthers still lead the division, but only by two points.
Hits: Washington, 37-34 (Keaton Ellerby collected a game high eight, while the Caps where led by Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, and Matt Hendricks, with five each).
Blocked Shots: Washington, 17-16 (John Carlson led Washington with four. Keaton Ellerby also had four for the Panthers).
Faceoffs: Florida, 30-29 (Stephen Weiss led with 11-for-18 in the circle, Marcel Goc won 14-of-27. Jeff Halpern won 8-of-12 for the Caps).
Shots on Goal: Washington, 41-23 (Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin each took six swipes, Kris Versteeg took four shots for Florida).
Score: Capitals 2, Panthers 1
The Anaheim Ducks come to town on Sunday, puck drop at 6:00 P.M.