Stingrays fall 4-3 in overtime in their home opener.
A Cacophony of Headlines: Caps Win Fifth Straight
First thing’s first: Matt Bradley and Alexander Semin hugged it out and are BFFLs again, and Semin wants everyone to shut up about it.
“I’m tired of answering the same questions,” said Semin through a translator.
And indeed, there was much more to the Washington Capitals’ 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers.
It was the fifth straight win for the team, making them undefeated so far this season. That sets a record for the franchise, which has achieved 4-0 starts in only three of its 37 years. It’s a good sign for the team, but Bruce Boudreau knows it’s not everything.
“Quite frankly when it comes to April and May I’m not gonna be able to sit here and say, ‘Hey, we were 5-0’,” he said, “It’s not really gonna hold a lot of weight. It’s nice but it’s just the process of getting to where we want to get.”
Tomas Vokoun got his fourth win in four starts, and his first shut-out with the Caps. On the opposite side of the ice, Jacob Markstrom had his first NHL start with Vokoun’s former team.
Markstrom’s performance overall was solid, but the weight of back-to-back games and a short recovery time from a flight from Florida weighed on the team in front of him.
Panthers’ head coach Kevin Dineen complimented the rookie and acknowledged the fatigue, “Yeah, he had a solid game for us-gave us a chance to win. Not the way you want your debut to go but certainly happy that he got his first NHL game and he worked as had as he could. He didn’t get a heck of a lot of support.”
Markstrom allowed three goals on 32 shots, while Vokoun had to only face two in the first period and 20 total.
The Florida roster included several players that Caps fans would recognize. Besides Bradley, Tomas Fleischmann started the game, and at one point, got into a scrum with the fourth line. Jose Theodore didn’t play, but was in the building.
Troy Brouwer had a brief moment with former Blackhawks teammate Tomas Kopecky in front of the Panthers’ net. Florida infamously has a few Chicago alumni, with the acquisitions of Brian Campbell, Jack Skille and Kris Versteeg in the past year.
Dennis Wideman, acquired from the Panthers in February, was a key part of keeping the shots down against Vokoun, “I thought we were really good on the forecheck, and we made it hard on their D.”
As far as welcoming former teammates to his new home, Wideman may have recognized Bradley more than anyone else.
“Most of their guys, I’ve never played with or don’t really know.”
Mike Green and Brooks Laich suffered injuries to the hand and leg, respectively, and went to the locker room. Both were able to return and finish the game.