The season series between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers started with the Caps winning the first two games between the teams. Since then, however, Florida had entered Friday night’s game at the BankAtlantic Center 4-0 in the last four games against their Southeast Division rival. Friday night would prove to be the same old story for the Panthers, who now find themselves just four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with four to play.
The Capitals jumped out to an early lead when Jakub Klepis scored just over five minutes into the opening period. The first period ended knotted at one after Gregory Campbell slid a wrist shot from the point past Brent Johnson for his sixth goal of the season. Campbell has now doubled his career total from last season.
The second period opened with the Panthers taking two quick penalties when Bryan Allen and Rostislav Olesz were called for slashing and boarding respectively, nearly 1:30 apart. Washington winger Chris Clark converted on the 5-on-3 advantage with four seconds left in the Allen penalty giving them an additional power play with the score 2-1. The Panthers would knot the score again when Martin Gelinas scored on a power play for his 298th career goal – though his night was hardly finished.
The Panthers have played in three overtime games in their last three home games, two of which went to a shootout. On Friday night the Panthers would just need two minutes of the extra time. The Capitals Steve Eminger was whistled for a hooking penalty just under two minutes into the period. Just 19 seconds later, Martin Gelinas deflected a Stephen Weiss
slap shot top shelf for his second goal of the game, his 299th of his career and the game winner. The Panthers, winners of their last two at home, return to the ice on Sunday for their last home game of the regular season against the Carolina Hurricanes. Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day - festivities begin at 4pm and the puck drops at 5pm.