The Washington Capitals defeated the Southeast leading Florida Panthers tonight 4-2, while the Buffalo Sabres fell to the Philadelphia Flyers, handing, at the least, the 8th and final Stanley Cup playoff spot to the Washington Capitals.
With the win tonight, the Caps still have a shot at their fifth consecutive Southeast Division title. That will be decided on Saturday. The Panthers face the Bruins and the Caps face the Eastern Conference leading Rangers. How does it play out? Simple. Caps must win and Panthers must lose. That simple.
Caps sealed the deal tonight with a late third period goal from Alexander Semin, to give the Caps the 4-2 lead, the ultimate final score.
Jay Beagle put the Caps up 1-0 off the faceoff in the first period. The first period ended with a Caps 1-0 lead. Alexander Ovechkin and Brooks Laich scored nearly halfway through the second period two minutes apart to give the Caps a 3-0 lead. Them Michal Neuvorth, who was pitching a shutout between the pipes, got hurt. Braden Holtby in relief, have up two goals to Mikka Sammuelson and Ed Jovanowski to make the game interesting.
But, Semin buried the Panthers by putting a goal above the shoulder of Jose Theodore at the 18:58 mark to seal the win.
To make things clear, Caps trail Florida by two points. If Florida only gets one point on Saturday, they win the Southeast and the third seed. Florida must lose in regulation and the Caps must win. If that happen, the Caps will face New Jersey. If they take the eighth seed, they will fAce the New York Rangers.