SUNRISE - The Floirda Panthers fell to the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Overtime Sunday night at the BankAtlantic Center. For the Capitals, it was a win they needed as they move into first in the division and face the team they passed, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Monday night in Tampa.
The Capitals were not going to stand down, though. at 17:16, Nicklas Backstrom's hard slapshot from inside the left faceoff circle went top shelf past the outstretched arm of Scott Clemmensen to tie the game at 1. It was good for his 17th tally on the year. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble started the play with Ovie's feed coming from the left wing boards.
About midway through the contest, Boyd Gordon set up a play for a slap shot from just beyond the right faceoff circle by John Carlson. The Capitals created a traffic jam around the net, causing a Panthers player to commit a penalty. The rebound eventually came off of Clemmensen's pad right to Gordon who shot it into the wide open net to untie the score at 2-1. Matt Hendricks also assisted on the goal at 10:02 which was Gordon's second on the year.
With the game appearing to be all but over in the third, the Panthers got a break. John Erskine headed to the sin bin for tripping at 16:17. Then, Wideman took a trip to the box just 40 seconds later. That set up a two man advantage. With four forwards on the ice, the Panthers put forth consistent offensive pressure. Santorelli passed the puck across the crease for Steven Weiss who tried to stuff it home. Michal Neuvrith made the save but the rebound went right to David Booth who backhanded it in to tie the score at 2 with just 2:36 remaining. It was his 19th of the 2011 campaign.
THREE STARS: 3) Alexander Semin (GWG) 2) David Booth (1 goal) 1) Michal Neuvrith (W, 32 SV)
CAT BYTES: Coach DeBoer is still looking for win #100. 15,685 were in attendance for the game on a Family Fun Sunday. The Panthers hosted a pre-Purim party, despite the rain, on the jetBlue Tarmac outside the arena. The Panthers have a day off before facing the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at 7:30 from the BankAtlantic Center.