SUNRISE, Fla. | Playing without Alex Ovechkin is one thing, but the Washington Capitals were losing a player a period Friday night.
Thanks to a three-point night from Brian Pothier and 28 saves by Jose Theodore, the short-handed Caps ended a three-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory against the Florida Panthers at BankAtlantic Center
Ovechkin missed his second game with an upper-body strain, but the Caps lost defensemen Mike Green, Jeff Schultz and Shaone Morrisonn during this contest. Green took only four shifts in the first period before leaving with an undisclosed injury. Schultz went to the dressing after two shifts in the second and also did not return.
To make matters worse, Morrisonn was assessed a five-minute major penalty for boarding and ejected with 8:18 left in the third, meaning the Caps were down to four defensemen — and only three that started the game on the blue line.
Having Tyler Sloan in the lineup proved to be a huge break for the Caps. Sloan, playing forward because Eric Fehr is sidelined with a rib injury, moved to his natural spot on defense to start the second period because of Greens injury.
After forging a 3-0 lead, it appeared the Caps might be in the midst of another meltdown after Morrisonns penalty. Nathan Horton cut the lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 10:28 of the third, but the Panthers were unable to convert with five minutes of extra-man time. Brendan Morrison added his second of the night into an empty net to seal the win.
Pothier, who was a healthy scratch Wednesday night in New Jersey, pushed the lead to 3-0 at 6:56 of the final period. With the Caps on the power play, Pothier blasted a one-timer from the left point on a setup from Nicklas Backstrom.
Pothier had the secondary assist on the team’s first two goals. His three-point night matched a career high.