February 12, 2013

Panthers Vs Capitals February 9, 2013
Game Review

Braden Holtby (G) and teammates celebrate win over Panthers - Washington, DC February 9, 2013.
Photo © Nick Wass / AP Photo.

Florida Panthers 0 Vs Washington Capitals 5 = Home Game Shutout Win!

It was like someone flicked a switch, turning on the real Washington Capitals. They did pretty much everything right, shutting out the Florida Panthers on February 9, 2013. Washington has had a history of beating Florida at home in Washington, DC, and they continued with a similar result on Saturday night. Everything was working well for them.

Goaltender Braden Holtby played his best game of the -2012--2013 season. That's not saying much with those outings being mediocre to poor, but it is when you can also say it was Holtby's best performance since last season's playoffs, when he did amazingly well. Braden held the Panthers scorless, with 27 saves.

The Capitals did a better job defensively, keeping the cats from developing a lot of quality scoring chances, than they had been doing against most other teams so far this season. Any shots that did get through to the cage, weren't penetrating the backstop.

At the other end of the ice, Florida netminder Jose Theodore wasn't getting much help from his teammates. Though Washington didn't score until a couple minutes before the end of period one, the goal by forward Troy Brouwer was just the beginning, for him personally and the team as well. Brouwer deflected in a slap shot from defenseman John Carlson. Shortly after, George Parros (RW) tried to get his team going by engaging in a punch-up with Caps big guy, John Erskine (D). This did not work.

Troy was back at the well again three-and-a-half minutes into the second period, for his fifth goal of the season. This time his long and quick feed pass actually came from an alert Braden Holtby (G), on a Caps power-play. A couple minutes after the midpoint of the game, Joel Ward (F) got his fifth of the season, with the help of forwards Mathieu Perreault and Eric Fehr. Ward's goal put Washington ahead by three, for the first time in any game this season.

About a third of the way through the third period, Alex Ovechkin scored goal number four in the game. It was also goal number four of the season for Ovechkin. Assisting this time were winger Jason Chimera (6) and center Mike Ribeiro (10). Finally, halfway through the third period, Perreault scored his first goal. Credited with the helpers were Jeff Schultz (D) and Joel Ward (F). Florida were obviously feeling pretty down and out, and were pretty lackadaisical the rest of the way.

In the end, four Washington Capitals earned their first points of the season. Three Caps had a multiple-point game. It was the first time the team had scored more than three goals in a game this season. It appears that the Capitals' offense has finally been awakened.

This is no time to get too excited though. The Florida Panthers are not a very good team so far this season. This wasn't a really big test of improvement. Still, this commanding win can only boost the Capitals players' confidence, and that can't hurt. It will be far more meaningful if the Caps beat the Panthers again, when they visit their house for a game on Tuesday.

Caps Postgame Locker Room 02/09/13: Caps players Jason Chimera, Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer addresses the media after a 5-0 win over the Florida Panthers.

Adam Oates Postgame 02/09/13: Caps head coach Adam Oates addresses the media after a 5-0 win over the Florida Panthers.

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