Score goals, that is. The Caps rode trick shots by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Ovechkin, plus goalie Justin Peters’ 20-save effort to a 2-1 decision over the Panthers.
For a more detailed review of the night’s events, head on over to Japers’ Rink for our recap.
-- Hey, guess what. The Caps won a game in which they scored fewer than three goals. That broke an 0-26-7 string of 33 games in which they failed to do so. Their last win when scoring fewer than three goals in a game came on April 4, 2013, when they beat the New York Islanders in a Gimmick, 2-1. The Caps’ last such win in regulation came on March 11, 2012, when they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-0. We're still waiting for one of those.
-- Another night, another trick shot competition. This one makes three in five games this season and 24 in 87 games over the past two seasons. The Caps are 12-12 in those contests.
-- The win makes the Caps 10-0-1 in their last 11 contests against the Panthers, outscoring Florida by a 42-21 margin. The Caps have not lost at home to the Panthers since December 9, 2010, when they were shutout by a 3-0 score. The Caps have won nine straight against Florida at Verizon Center.
-- Last season the Caps held teams under 30 shots a game only 21 times in 82 contests. Their longest streak of such games was three in late January. They have five straight games allowing fewer than 30 shots to start this season. The last time the Caps pieced together a streak of five games allowing fewer than 30 shots was in late December 2011 when the put the clamps on Winnipeg, Colorado, Nashville, New Jersey, and Buffalo, going 2-2-1 in the process.
-- The Eric Fehr/Jason Chimera/Joel Ward line had a goal and two assists, eight shots on goal, 11 shot attempts, five hits, two blocked shots, and won 11 of 19 draws.
-- Matt Niskanen had more than two more even strength ice time (23:02) than the next Capitals (Brooks Orpik – 21:39).
In the end…
A record of 3-0-2 might not sound like much, but you bank points where and when you can, especially with a trip out west next week on the schedule. This might have been the dastardly “trap game,” the one where the good guys suffer an unexpected loss against a weaker opponent after a good stretch of play against stiff competition. The Caps last year might have fallen victim to that scenario, but this team has a look of being sounder in their own end. Defense is as often a matter of will as it is of skill, and if the Caps bring that sort of will power to the rink every night, they can avoid these “traps” and the bleeding away of standings points they might need next spring.