The struggling Washington Capitals had a team only meeting before the game to 'clear the air', according to Caps F Troy Brouwer. Whatever was said, whatever the resolution, it seemed to work tonight against the Florida Panthers. And Troy Brouwer led the way.
Brouwer scored two goals and Braden Holtby recorded his first shutout of the season to lead the Capitals to a much needed 5-0 rout of the Panthers. Brouwer opened game's scoring late in the first period, deflecting in a John Carlson shot to give the Caps the 1-0 lead. Though the Caps were out shot 10-8 in the first period, they took that 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Brouwer would add his second goal of the game on the Caps power play, fed by a beautiful long pass from Branden Holtby and an old school shot that wizzed past Panthers' goalie Jose Theodore. It was Holtby's second assist of his young career and Brouwer's 5th goal of the season, his second of the game. The Caps were not done in the second period. Joel Ward would score his fifth marker of the season at 11:55 mark, grabbing a rebound from Theodore and scoring in front of the net. The Ward goal gave the Caps a 3-0 lead at the end of the second period.
Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth on the season off the faceoff in the third period to give the Caps a 4-0 lead. Mathieu Perreault ended the scoring, tapping in a rebound left by Theodore in the third period. Not only was it a much needed win for the Capitals, but the kind of easy win they needed. The win improves the Caps to just 3-8-1 on the season.
Holtby stopped all 27 shots on goal to record his second career shutout. In a relatively clean game, the Caps were 1 for 2 on the power play and a perfect 2 for 2 on the penalty kill. It was quite refreshing to see the Caps limit the number of trips to the penalty box.
Multi Point Scorers:
Troy Brouwer, 2 goals
Mathieu Perreault, 1 goal, 1 assist
Joe Ward, 1 goal, 1 assist