- Last laugh: Marine vet fires off jokes from the grave with own obituary
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- NATO sends surveillance planes to watch Ukraine
- Climate change not a top concern of Americans, poll shows
- GM faces federal investigation for slow recall that led to 13 deaths
- Iran president reaches out to Oman on friendship tour
- FAA’s pre-Malaysia flight warning: 777s have cracking, corrosion issues
- Facebook HQ locked down; employees searched as police field threat
- Glenn Ford free, after serving 30 years for murder he didn’t commit
- Congressman: McAuliffe victory means gun control a winning message
Capitals take care of business by drubbing Panthers
Eleven players register points in 7-1 victory
The goal horn started to sound like a broken record. The red light twirled behind two different Florida Panthers goaltenders. Washington Capitals fans at Verizon Center chanted “We want wings” less than nine minutes into the first period.
There was no drama necessary. The Caps simply took care of business by shellacking a wounded and woeful Florida team 7-1 on Thursday night.
House of Pain's “Jump Around” played in the victorious locker room, but players didn't celebrate the drubbing.
“Of course everybody happy, but we don’t jumping around,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “In that kind of game it was kind of easy.”
It was the kind of blowout that was impressive but should have been expected against the Panthers, who were playing without seven regulars, including two first-liners, one of their top defensemen and their starting goaltender.
“It feels nice,” defenseman Karl Alzner said. “We felt like we had a pretty good chance with their injuries and stuff. We thought that would help us out a lot. … But yeah, that’s a game we needed to win, and we’re happy we got it.”
The Caps did everything they needed to pounce on their opportunities and extend their winning streak to three. In the process, they kept from falling into last place in the Eastern Conference and made up ground on the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes. They finished the night 12th in the East.
“For the standings it’s real big,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “We had a couple nice bounces as far as our luck goes, and we were able to take it from there.”
For a Caps team looking for a good start, it doesn't get much better than obliterating the Panthers with four goals in the first 8:10. It was the second-fastest to four goals in team history; the only better came Jan. 21, 1986, with four in 6:49.
“In this league or in any league everybody's so good that usually – you don't want to say easy night – but there's not usually a night where you score goals in eight minutes and have a 4-0 lead,” said defenseman Steve Oleksy, who led the Caps in ice time.
By the time the night was over, seven different players scored a goal and 11 registered at least a point. Ovechkin, Mike Ribeiro and Wojtek Wolski each had three on a goal and two assists. And the Caps scored five-plus goals against the Panthers for the third time in as many meetings.
It was a beat-down in the purest form of the term.
“I think the goalie was really struggling,” Ovechkin said of Florida's Jacob Markstrom, who gave up two goals on two shots. “We had two shots and it goes in. Of course it give us lots of belief and we feel unbelievable. Like after first two minutes. So it works.”
Coach Adam Oates called the hot start a “good luxury.” But he was worried.
“Really, right after that, you're concerned that we're going to be a little flat because the intensity drops really fast,” Oates said. “In a game like that, I don't want to see one of my guys get hurt because you're not mentally or physically engaged in the game. It's a really tough thing.”
Jason Chimera took a blindside hit from Panthers defenseman Tyson Strachan in the second period, but the left wing managed to return. And the Caps managed not to let up.
“We were fresh off a game where we were down 3-0 in the first and we came back. I think that probably helped us that we knew it was far from over,” said goaltender Braden Holtby, who won his eight game in 11 straight starts. “We stuck with it. It's hard to play your game in those last two periods when you have a lead, but I think we did a very good job of it.”
Oleksy said he had never been a part of a game like this. It's rare for a team to blow an opponent out of an arena this badly.
That's why Oates wasn't talking about using this game as a confidence-building moving forward.
“Almost like if it happened against us where, like, we've got to throw the tape away,” he said. “The league's not that easy. We've got to remove that. … Florida had one of those bad nights, and it's over.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- David Jolly wins in Florida, GOP keeps swing district seat
- Brennan: Russia 'absolutely' could invade eastern Ukraine
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Obamacare 3 million shy of target with 19 days left to sign up
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Special ops forces wearing thin from high demand
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again