The Florida Panthers came out strong Wednesday night, pelting the Capitals with 18 first period shots. However, they found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 advantage in that time, and never recovered in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, in D.C.
Washington got on the board just 80 seconds into the game, on an early power play attempt. Brooks Laich took the puck down the left wing boards and centered a pass in front of the net to Mike Knuble. Knuble one-timed a tip-in towards the net and beat Scott Clemmensen.
The Capitals followed their early first period power play goal with a late one. With just 37 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Nicklas Backstrom started to attempt a wrap around, but centered a quick pass in front of the net to Jason Chimera. Clemmensen anticipated the completion of the wrap around and was caught looking the wrong way, as Chimera one-timed the puck into the open part of the net.
After finding their legs in the second period, the Capitals went ahead by three goals on Sean Collins’ first tally in a couple of seasons. David Booth made a bad pass in the offensive zone, giving Washington a break the other way. Alex Ovechkin’s pass was blocked, but Collins found the loose puck and beat Clemmensen glove side with a quick wrist shot.
Washington made it 4-0 on a goal by Matt Hendricks. Boyd Gordon found Hendricks with a pass behind the net, and Hendricks was able to stuff the puck through Clemmensen’s leg pad.
The Panthers got on the board with just over six minutes left on a power play goal. Sergei Samsonov faked out a couple of defenders, before finding Booth with a backhand pass. Booth one-timed a shot over Semyon Varlamov’s glove. Florida got within two goals with under two minutes left, when Samsonov hit Mike Santorelli with a cross ice pass, which Santorelli got just enough of to tap into the open net.
Ovechkin added an empty net goal to finish off the game with 11 seconds remaining.
Florida lost for the ninth straight time. They will play game 81 of 82 on Friday night, in Tampa Bay against the Lightning.