Capitals make it five straight

Capitals make it five straight
October 19, 2011, 1:20 am
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Jim Anderson couldnt do it.

Neither could Red Sullivan, Tom McVie, Danny Belisle, Gary Green, Bryan Murray, Terry Murray, Jim Schoenfeld, Ron Wilson, Bruce Cassidy or Glen Hanlon.

Until now, no head coach in the 37-year history of the Capitals had gotten his team off to a 5-0-0 start.

So how does Bruce Boudreau feel about becoming the first?

It means 10 points, Boudreau said Tuesday night after his teams most complete game of the year, a 3-0 victory over the visiting Florida Panthers. Quite frankly, when it comes to April and May, Im not going to be able to sit here and say we were 5-0. Thats not going to hold a lot of weight. Its a process to where we want to get.

Playing against a Florida team that was coming off a win in Tampa the night before, the Capitals received goals from Marcus Johansson, Alex Semin and Jason Chimera and goaltender Tomas Vokoun stopped 20 shots for this 45th career shutout.

As a result, the Caps will carry the NHLs best record (5-0-0) into Philadelphia Thursday night when they face the 4-0-1 Flyers.

Weve just got to keep rolling, said Chimera, whose backhander into an empty net with 43.6 seconds remaining sealed the win. Its a good feeling. We havent played the way we wanted to, but tonight was a little better than wed been playing.

For Semin, Tuesday nights win was a small measure of vindication for the comments Panthers forward Matt Bradley made two months ago in a radio interview, when he said Semin just doesnt care.

Semin scored 1:49 into the third period, taking a nice outlet pass from Mike Knuble and beating rookie goaltender Jacob Markstrom inside the far left post with a wicked wrist shot.

Asked if there were any extra incentive considering what Bradley said about him, Semin replied, through media relations director Sergey Kocharov: Im tired of answering the same question. I dont want to talk about this. Its a dead issue to me.

With Markstrom making his first career start, the Caps wanted to fire plenty of rubber at the 21-year-old rookie from Gavle, Sweden, the same hometown as Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom.

They did just that, outshooting the Panthers 11-2 in the opening period and holding Florida without a shot for the first 11:40 of play.

It was the Caps most dominant period of the season, and Johansson continued his torrid start with another unorthodox goal, this one on the power play at the 4:24 mark. Left alone on the right side of the net, Johansson used Alex Ovechkin as a decoy and threaded a shot between the pads of Markstrom for his third goal and fourth point in four games.

The Capitals had a slight lull early in the second period, but they continued pressuring the Panthers defense, eventually wearing the down with 30 hits, led by Matt Hendricks six and four each by Ovechkin and Chimera.

Hendricks also drew a tripping penalty on Scottie Upshall that led to Johanssons power-play goal and was strong on the penalty kill, holding Florida scoreless on three attempts.

Boudreau said it was the kind of game he expected against a team that arrived in Washington in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

We got a break with the schedule, and if you dont take advantage of breaks, shame on us.