Score is best!!)))aha. (My San Antonio)
The Washington Capitals utterly humiliated the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, dominating them by a 7-1 to win their third consecutive game. Getting goals from seven different players: John Erskine, Wojtek Wolski, Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr, Mathieu Perreault, John Carlson, and Mike Ribeiro, as well as 29 saves from Braden Holtby, the Caps continued to roll and kept their recent hot streak alive. Washington is now 10-11-1 on the season.
Well, this was nice. Facing an already brutal Florida team missing about half their lineup and essentially playing with half AHL players, the Caps pumped four past the Panthers in the first period, including two on their first two shots, and never looked back. This reminded be of 2010, where the Caps scored with reckless abandon, especially against the Panthers as they feasted on inferior opposition almost every night. It was great to watch, even if it was against a brutal team.
This three game stretch has been encouraging, with wins over Winnipeg, Boston, and now Florida. But it hasn’t convinced me of anything yet, and I certainly don’t view this team as a contender because they blew the doors off the worst team in the East at home. They have a real tough stretch coming up with a ton of games on the road and a lot of games in quick succession as the meat of this compressed schedule comes to pass. Only if they truly run the table in that stretch can they be considered a true contender, even if they make the playoffs. And again: they MUST avoid no man’s land at all costs.
Alex Ovechkin was good tonight, the second consecutive game that he has shown great effort and has been constantly moving all over the ice. He had three points and is up to 20 in 22 games this season, which means he has more than a third of all his points this year in two games: this one and against the Devils two weeks ago. Nevertheless, Ovechkin was good and has looked better in general over the last two weeks. I give him credit, and certainly hope for his sake and the sake of the franchise that he can continue this run of strong form.
Not much more to say about Holtby at this point, who started his 11th consecutive game and is in an absolute zone. There’s no doubt that ‘s been aided by the better play of the team in front of him in all three zones during this hot streak, but he’s earned every minute of playing time and I give him full credit. If Michal Neuvirth isn’t really “sick,” and the Caps are planning on moving him, it would be a shame because of how low his value is right now, but not necessarily because of the effect it would have on the on-ice effectiveness.
Lasty, another good game from Steven Oleksy, who picked up two more assists and now has three points in two career NHL games. It’s a hot start offensively that will dry up, but his physical play in the defensive zone was appreciated and noticed this evening and he threw a monster hip check that would have made Scott Stevens proud.
The Caps play next on Saturday on Long Island.
Harry Hawkings is a college student credentialed to cover the Capitals for RtR. Follow him on Twitter here for all your news needs this season.