Instant analysis: Capitals-Panthers

Instant analysis: Capitals-Panthers
April 7, 2011, 2:15 am
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 10:19 p.m.By Ryan OHalloran
Staff Writer
A recap of the Capitals 5-2 win over Florida in the regular-season home finale Wednesday at Verizon Center:Why the Capitals won: Well, besides the fact that Florida stinks, the Capitals didnt play a great game (outshot 33-25) but took advantage of their opportunities, scoring four times on their first 19 shots. Playing without Mike Green, Dennis Wideman, Scott Hannan, Jason Arnott and Alexander Semin (as well as Tom Poti), the Capitals resembled Hershey Lite with players such as Sean Collins, Jay Beagle and Tyler Sloan getting regular work. The good: The Capitals withstood an uneven first period they led 2-0 despite getting outshot 18-6. Alex Ovechkin (goal, two assists), Nicklas Backstrom (two assists) and Brooks Laich (two assists) all had multi-point games. Laich moved back to defense for part of the game and was more than serviceable. Semyon Varlamov made 18 first-period saves, a good sign for a player who hasnt seen much action recently. Collins played 18:38 paired with Jeff Schultz and finished plus-1 with a goal.The bad: The 18 shots allowed in the first period wont get it done in the playoffs. Matt Hendricks was called for a bogus roughing penalty in the first period when the Panthers Ryan Carter hit Collins from behind and Hendricks came to his defense. Carter was whistled for the hit, but he should have gotten two additional minutes to offset Hendricks, because both players dropped their gloves. On one penalty kill, the Capitals failed to get it out of the zone for the entire two minutes.Key moment: With Florida outplaying the Capitals, Washington made it 2-0 with 37 seconds left in the first period when Jason Chimera was left wide open in front of the Panthers goal and slammed home Backstrom's feed. The Capitals didnt deserve to be ahead, much less by two goals.Key stat: 2. Career goals by Collins. The call-up from Hershey is in the lineup because of all of the injuries along the blue line. He scored his first goal of the season on a feed from Ovechkin to make it 3-0 midway through the second period. Collins was playing in his 18th NHL game he has 20 points in 73 games for Hershey.Key stat II: 25-8-8. The Capitals regular-season home record. Washington didnt lose in regulation in its last nine home games (eight wins, one overtime defeat).Capitals player of the game: Varlamov made 31 saves and didnt allow the two goals until the Capitals were in command with a 4-0 lead.Contact OHalloran at