The Washington Capitals are surging. They are not doing in previous fashion, with a ton of goals, but nevertheless, the surge is on.
The Capitals reclaimed the Southeast Division lead with a 3-2 overtime win in Florida. Alexander Semin boomed the game winner from the right side of Florida goalie Scott Clemmensen, just 48 seconds into the extra frame. The battle for the lead continues tomorrow night as the Caps face the Tampa Bay Lightning, who fell one point behind the Caps tonight.
In typical Caps fashion this season, they fell behind 1-0 after a Bill Thomas goal at the 15:13 mark of the first period. That Florida lead would last less than three minutes when Nicklas Backstrom connected on a centering feed from Alex Ovechkin. It was Backstrom's 17th of the season and he has now score din consecutive games. Ovechkin and Mike Knuble assisted the Backstrom tally. Despite getting out shot 16-6, the Caps ended the first period knotted at 1-1.
Boyd Gordon gave the Caps the lead in the second period, just his second goal of the season. It was the only tally of the second period, a rebound left go by Clemmensen. The Gordo goal was assisted by Matt Hendricks and John Carlson. Caps did recover in shots, out shooting the Panthers 12-9.
The Caps kept the 2-1 lead until late int he third period when they found themselves in an extended 5-3 penalty kill, the result of John Erskine and Dennis Wideman penalties. David Booth knocked home the game tying goal at the 17:24 mark, a tally that would ultimately send the game to overtime.
Over time did not last long. Just 48 seconds, the Caps had a rush that found Alexander Semin to the right of Clemmensen and he deliver a nasty wrister that propelled the Capitals to two very big standing points and a leap over Tampa Bay for the division lead. Marcus Johansson assisted the Semin goal.
The win was the fourth consecutive win between the pipes for Michal Neuvirth. It was also his fourth consecutive game allowing no more than 2 goals. He improved overall to 22-10-4 and setting a new Washington Capital franchise record for wins by a rookie net minder.
The win puts Washington 1 point over the looming Tampa Bay Lightning, who the Caps will face tomorrow night in Tampa. The win also pulled the Capitals to within 2 points of Pittsburgh and Boston and 4 points from Eastern leading Philadelphia, who got spanked 7-0 today by the New York Rangers. The Caps have now won four straight and six of their last seven and seven of their last nine.