Recap: Caps 5, Panthers 4 (SO)

[AP Recap - GameCenter - Game Summary - Event Summary]

For the second consecutive night, the Caps found themselves down 4-1 to their Sunshine State hosts before the game's midway point and yanking their young netminder for his veteran backup. And for the second consecutive night, the Caps stormed back, scoring the next three goals to tie the score.

Unlike last night, however, the Caps were able to take that momentum and turn it into two points - two points they'll gladly take as they get out of Florida just as fast as they can.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Every time Jose Theodore has a strong outing, which this certainly was (15 saves on 15 shots against in 35:10 of relief work), you find yourself wondering whether it's the start of a hot streak. And while there's no way of knowing, of course, it certainly would be a good time for one of his tears, as Michal Neuvirth is really fighting the puck at present, allowing eight goals on thirty shots against in his last two partial games (49:49 total).
  • Jason Chimera finally had his breakthrough performance as a Cap, and it came in an 18:14 span of the second period in which he scored a dazzling goal showcasing both his speed and power, assisted on another tally, and fought (and beat) Gregory Campbell. That, my friends, is a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (the first by a Cap in the regular season since Ben Clymer on February 3, 2006, as Vogs pointed out). Welcome to D.C. (and can we get a ruling on whether or not he counts as a Cap double-digit goal scorer now?).
  • If management had any concerns about losing Tyler Sloan to waivers upon a demotion, his new contract and recent performances should put those to rest. He needs some Hershey time. Badly.
  • One night after being on the ice for six of the seven goals the Caps allowed, Mike Green was on the ice for all four goals against. By the time the game ended, Green had been on the ice for 15 goals (for and against) in two nights while skating 53 shifts. In other words, don't blink when 52's on the ice.
  • Think Brooks Laich is pressing? Consecutive nights with offensive-zone penalties (and back-to-back two-minor games) would suggest that having scored just once in his last 18 games is getting to him. Hopefully his super-clutch shootout tally gives him some confidence and he can get back to simplifying his game and putting some pucks in the net.
  • Speaking of pressing, it was good to see Alex Ovechkin score (it felt like forever - it wasn't), but he had some trouble with the puck all evening and only managed to get four of his 16 attempted shots on goal. And for all of his recent struggles, he now has seven points in his last four games. Ho hum.
  • David Steckel's after-the-whistle crosschecking penalty early in the second seemed to have landed him in Bruce Boudreau's doghouse, as he skated just two shifts the rest of the way... until Gabby needed him for a late third period face off.
  • Did Mike Knuble get screwed out of a goal? No. No he did not.
  • It may be cliche to say that the first and last minutes of periods are particularly important, but with the Caps scoring in the first 30 seconds of the second and third stanzas, I'll parrot it for tonight.
  • The Caps' power play was 0-for-1 without a shot on goal which indicates two things: they didn't do enough to draw penalties (true) and they didn't move enough while a man up (also true).

Down three goals one night after giving up seven in a loss, the Caps rallied to salvage a couple of points on this Florida swing. It may not have been pretty, but these two points count just as much as any other two, and there certainly were bright spots going forward... and one of them should be in net Friday night against the Leafs.

Game highlights:

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