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game recap

Capitals shut out in playoff tuneup

Panthers goalie James Reimer makes 38 saves in season finale

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer made 38 saves in a 2-0 victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Sunday in the season finale for each team.

The Capitals (55-19-8), who had the best record in the NHL for the second consecutive season, will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I think the goal was just to play the right way," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "It was sort of a non-contact game, it was quick. I think when you get to this point, these Game 82s are sometimes anticlimactic, if you will. We got through it. I don't think we have any injuries, and we go from there."


WATCH: All Panthers vs. Capitals highlights


The Capitals rested forwards T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams, and defensemen John Carlson and Matt Niskanen. Forward Brett Connolly did not play because he was ill.

Derek MacKenzie and Denis Malgin scored for the Panthers (35-36-11). It was Reimer's second consecutive shutout after he had none in his first 36 starts of the season.

"Reimer was unbelievable, to be able to come in here and shut them out 2-0," Florida coach Tom Rowe said. "I know they had a lot of their guys out, but they've still got a powerful team even with what they had. [Reimer] was good, and special teams I thought were excellent. Especially the penalty-killing did a real good job."

Video: Reimer earns Sunday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made 14 saves before he was replaced to begin the third period by backup Philipp Grubauer, who had five saves.
MacKenzie put Florida ahead 1-0 at 15:47 of the second period with a shorthanded goal, and Malgin scored a power-play goal at 9:47 of the third period to make it 2-0.

Capitals forward Garrett Mitchell made his NHL debut after he was recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Sunday. 
The Panthers played with eight defensemen because forward Michael Sgarbossa was out with a lower-body injury and forward Shawn Thornton announced Saturday that he had played his final NHL game.

Video: FLA@WSH: Holtby denies wrister, snares rebound


Goal of the game

After Panthers forward Colton Sceviour broke up a Tom Wilson shot attempt with the Capitals on the power play, MacKenzie gathered the puck, skated past defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk inside the Washington zone, and beat Holtby to the far side from the left faceoff circle.

Video: FLA@WSH: MacKenzie converts the SHG off the post


Save of the game

Reimer got his glove on Evgeny Kuznetsov's slap shot from above the circles with 3:14 left in the first period.


Highlight of the game

Malgin beat Grubauer through the five-hole to give Florida a two-goal lead.

Video: FLA@WSH: Malgin pots a PPG in close past Grubauer


Unsung performance of the game

MacKenzie was 6-for-8 on faceoffs (75.0 percent). Florida was 23-for-37 (62.2 percent). 


They said it

"Obviously, they have talent. They have lots of young guys, lots of speed. I think it's going to be a good series. We just have to play our way and don't give them obviously freedom and be patient." -- Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on facing the Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs


"You know, honestly, I couldn't wipe the smile off, you couldn't wipe the smile off my face all day. And when I found out last night, it's one of those things that I'll never forget." -- Capitals forward Garrett Mitchell on his NHL debut


"I think you have to look back over the season overall. I probably didn't start [the season] as well as I'd like, but I thought I stuck with it. I knew what was I capable of and just stick to it. When you look back it, it was a fairly good season, but at the same time, when you don't make the playoffs, nothing's good enough." -- Panthers goalie James Reimer


Need to know

Washington allowed 177 goals, the fewest in the NHL, to win the Jennings Trophy for the second time in its history (226 goals-against, 1983-84). … Florida defenseman Keith Yandle played in his 632nd consecutive NHL game.


What's next

Panthers: Season over

Capitals: Host Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of Eastern Conference First Round on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports)


Video: Malgin and MacKenzie tally in 2-0 win against Caps

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