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Latest Southeast Division Items
It's Feb. 7 on the calendar, but Dale Hunter's theme of the past week, all about warm weather and important hockey, continued Tuesday.
In their first nine games without Nicklas Backstrom, the Washington Capitals picked up nine points. Not a pace good enough to win the Southeast Division if it continued, but not too bad without a leading scorer and MVP.
An announced crowd of 15,231 Wednesday night at BankAtlantic Center included many tickets sold that went unused. It didn't seem to matter that the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers were fighting for first place in the Southeast Division, as the odd confluence of an 8 p.m. start and Alex Ovechkin's suspension likely played a role in a light crowd.
It's a 50-50 chance for Dale Hunter to pick a goaltender and get second-guessed. Tomas Vokoun established himself as the Washington Capitals' No. 1 guy over the past month, but it was Michal Neuvirth who got the call Wednesday night for the biggest game in a while, a road showdown with the Florida Panthers.
Every point matters this time of year, and down the stretch, for the Washington Capitals. So in the final minute of the third period, they played for it.
Coming out of the NHL All-Star break, the Washington Capitals should be rested and refreshed. All-Star defenseman Dennis Wideman and call-ups Cody Eakin and Joel Rechlicz were the only ones playing over the past several days.
Fresh off the ice and a victory against his former team, Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman sat in the locker room at Verizon Center among a swarm of reporters.
The butterflies were going for defenseman Karl Alzner on Tuesday. The Washington Capitals already had lost two in a row with a showdown against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins looming.
Mathieu Perreault still felt the sting of shaving cream in his left eye. Alex Ovechkin was suspended for the game, but the Washington Capitals captain and expert of the shaving cream towel managed to catch the young French-Canadian forward by surprise.