SUNRISE, Fla. | That Jeff Schultz was even in the Washington Capitals’ lineup Wednesday night came as a surprise to the defenseman and many others.
“I was a little bit,” he said. “With how the last couple months have gone, you don’t really know too much of who’s playing and who’s not. So I was a little bit surprised this morning.”
He played 9:48 in his first game action since Dec. 31 at the Blue Jackets. He didn’t take a regular shift and was not on the penalty kill, but Schultz looked good in limited duty. He didn’t make any mistakes and even had a couple more physical plays around the net.
More adventures in ice time: Dmitry Orlov played the most during his NHL career Wednesday night, 22:26. That was third among Caps players, behind only Dennis Wideman (26:09) and John Carlson (24:59).
On the other end of the spectrum, Joel Rechlicz played 2:37, a total of four shifts. Joel Ward played 6:18.
Michal Neuvirth’s rough night hurt the Caps, but on the Florida Panthers’ side it was all about Mikael Samuelsson, who scored twice in the 4-2 victory. Samuelsson scored from 88 feet out and then from just inside the blue line on the power play.
“You got to believe in your team and put pucks in the net and that’s what I did today and it went in,” he said. “You got to continue to do that.”
At the other end of the rink, Scott Clemmensen stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced.
“I’m really impressed with the game he played tonight,” Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said. “There were some self-inflicted wounds there towards the last 10 minutes where we kept them in the game with some of our puck decisions, and time and again Scottie came up big.”