The Florida Panthers came into Verizon Center and started the game off with the first four shots on net. The Capitals got the next 8 shots on net including 4 first period goals, all coming in the first eight minutes and ten seconds of the game.
Of the four first period markers, two came from bombs from the blue line. John Erskine ripped a shot and put it past Jacob Markstrom for his third goal of the season. That's right, his third of the season. That is a classic luck goal, as Erskine ripped it and it just went through the legs of Markstrom. It was a gift the Caps will take. The Erskine bomb was assisted by Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson. A little over one minute later, Wojtek Wolski scored for the second time in consecutive games, with a warp around tally that chased Markstrom to the bench, just 3:10 into the game. Steve Oleksy picked up his second assist in his second career game. Mathieu Perreault added a helper as well.
A little over two minutes later, the Caps got their third goal of the first period, another tally from the blue line, this one fired by Carlson. It was Carlson's 4th of the season and was assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer. The final marker of the first period was scored by Mike Ribeiro, fed by a perfect pass from Alex Ovechkin behind the net to the front. It was Ribeiro's 9th goal of the season and Ovi's second assist of the game. Washington ended the first period with a 4-0 lead and out shot the Panthers 12-8.
The second period saw the caps pad their lead by one to 5-0. Tyson Strachan leveled Jason Chimera with a cheap shot elbow to the head early in the second period that resulted in a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct. With the Caps on a five minute power play, Alex Ovechkin scored his ninth goal of the season and his third point of the night. Ribeiro and Brouwer assist on the Ovechkin power play marker. It was his fifth power play goal of the season. The first period was all about caps offense. The second period was more about the solid goal tending of Braden Holtby. Holtby bailed out the Caps numerous times in the second period with some nifty net minding. The Caps took a 5-0 lead in to the second intermission. They were out shot by the Panthers 12-4 in the second period.
Caps got on the board again in the third period on an Eric Fehr power play goal at the 15:50 mark. Fehr's 6th goal of the season was beautifully fed by Wojtek Wolski, who sent the pass to Fehr through two Panthers defenders in front of the net. Florida got one back at the 10:49 mark by Jack Skille, breaking up another shut out bid by Holtby. Mathieu Perreault added insult to injury with the Caps seventh goal of the game, a beauty shot as Perreault was falling forward to the ice. Perreault's tally was unassisted.
With the Caps 7-1 win over Florida, they move two points ahead of Florida and will be guaranteed to move into a tie with either Winnipeg or tampa Bay, which ever loses in their game between each other tonight. With a Carolina Hurricanes loss tonight, the Caps move to withing 6 points of the Southeast Division lead. The win also extends the Caps winning streak to four straight at the Verizon Center.
Troy Brouwer, 2 assists
John Carlson, 1 goal, 1 assist
Alex Ovechkin, 1 goal, 2 assists
Mike Ribeiro, 1 goal, 1 assist
Wotek Wolski, 1 goal, 1 assist
Mathieu Perreault, 1 goal, 1 assist
Eric Fehr extended his point streak to three straight games and has scored in consecutive games. Rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy has assists in consecutive games. Alex Ovechkin has extended his scoring streak to three games. He has 5 points in his last 3 games. Mike Ribeiro extended his scoring streak to three consecutive games and has also scored a goal in three straight games. Wolski, who struggled at the start of the season, has scored in two straight and has three points in last two games.