A great big friendly raspberry to all of the Caps fans that were belly-aching throughout the game about the Caps not showing up in Florida – they showed up for long enough! Washington put the finishing touches on a great come-from-behind victory on their 6th penalty shot of the shootout on Wednesday night; Tomas Fleischmann put his penalty past Tomas Vokoun to give the Capitals the 5-4 win.
Going into the third period, the Caps were down by two goals – but what Cap fan doesn’t realize that two goals are nothing for this offensive juggernaut? As long as you have Alex Ovechkin on your team, you shouldn’t ever think that two goals is insurmountable; it might only be two shifts for the Great 8.
Ovi proved that, when he brought the Caps back to within one on an unassisted goal just 27 seconds into the third to breathe new life into the Caps. The Panthers coughed up the puck in front of their own net, and Ovi made them pay by jumping on the loose puck and throwing it past Vokoun to make it 4-3.
Then at 12:25 of the third, Nichlas Backstrom evened the score at fours. Mike Green picked the puck off the boards on a bad clearance attempt from Florida and just threw it at the net; Backstrom was Johnny-on-the-spot and tipped it in to (eventually) send the game into overtime.
The extra period settled nothing, so it went to penalties. It took six rounds, before Fleischmann’s goal gave the Caps the win.
It was a great win in part because it’s always a shame to see a Gordie Howe hat trick go to waste; especially one that happened all in one period. That’s exactly what new recruit Jason Chimera did in the second frame. First he potted an unassisted goal, then he got a helper on Brian Pothier’s goal at 16:12, and then he completed the trick about two minutes later when he dropped the gloves and had a go with Gregory Campbell. To coin an old Howie Meeker phrase, ‘Just Super!’ It was definitely Chimera’s best outing since coming to the Caps seven games ago from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Michal Neuvirth started the game in goal for Washington, but was chased from the game when Gregory Campbell scored his first of the season to make it 4-1 half-way through the second. Jose Theodore came on in relief and made the comeback possible by stopping all 15 shots that he faced.
Michael Frolik, Dominic Moore, Stephen Weiss and Campbell scored for the Panthers in the losing effort; Vokoun stopped 33 shots.
“We always had that feeling tonight that something good was going to happen, we were always in striking range,” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Once we made it 4-2 near the end of the second, we thought we could come back. Fortunately, for us, we did.”
The win gave Washington a 1-1 split in Florida, and brought their season total to 28 wins and 62 points – good enough for tops in the division and second in the Eastern Conference. They now head back home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Verizon Center on Friday night – game time is 7:00pm.
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