The Washington Times - February 8, 2012, 09:51AM

This was not a an ideal Brooks Laich game, which usually includes 20 minutes of ice time and some memorable performances on both ends of the ice. But that the Washington Capitals forward who suffered a left knee injury that forced him onto crutches Sunday played at all was impressive.

“Brooksie gave us everything. You see him taking big faceoffs and I tried to spot him in shifts,” coach Dale Hunter said. “He played hard and won big faceoffs for us killing penalties and did what it took. He’s a warrior.”

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Laich’s final line included 9:28, no points and no time at all on the power play. Laich was far from Willis Reed in a matchup Hunter referred to as a “playoff game,” but he did contribute some inspirational motivation.

“It is. You see a guy sucking it up and doing what he can for the team,” Hunter said. “I played him, but I didn’t play him a lot like his usual minutes, but he gave us everything we can.”

Laich deflected just about every question about himself and turned the conversation toward how important it was for the Caps to beat the Florida Panthers to move back into first place in the Southeast Division.

“Yeah. I feel great. Two more points and sitting in third place now,” Laich said. “Wake up tomorrow and we’re in the playoffs right now so I feel pretty good.”