Caps 3, Panthers 2

Big win for the Caps, who began the second half of the NHL season with a 3-2 victory over Florida. Mike Green snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period and then Alex Ovechkin broke through with a highlight-reel goal of his own late. That insurance tally stood up – though it turned a little scary at the end after a Panthers goal and a penalty – and Washington is now 6-1-3 in its last 10 games. Read all the details in our game story here.

Washington’s special teams were the story. After a 3-for-39 skid, the power play finally came through with Green’s goal in the third. That 1-for-3 wasn’t pretty, but maybe it’s the start of a turnaround.

“Our power play was not that good again,” Ovechkin said. “But it was still able to score goals and win the game for us.”

Well, at least one goal. The penalty kill needs no such help. Knock on wood all you want, Bruce Boudreau. That group has killed 67 of its last 76 penalties (88.2%) and 27 in a row.

“Keep it going,” Boudreau said. Easier said than done at that clip. But this group is good now and has been for seven weeks – since a Nov. 24 game against Carolina. 

Forward Alex Semin was knocked from the game late in the second period after taking a hip to the thigh and getting dropped to the ice. He returned to finish the period, but sat out the third. Boudreau said Semin has a “lower-body injury” but offered no other details. He hadn’t been briefed yet.

Meanwhile, the Ovechkin-to-right-wing and Semin-to-left-wing experiment lasted less than half a game. Boudreau thought about making the move after the first intermission when the Caps had taken just five shots on goal. But he gave them a reprieve. That ended after one shift and a penalty.

“They weren't looking very good, so I had to do something,” Boudreau said. “Maybe it's just that they're so used to playing the opposite positions that they were doing the wrong assignments, so I thought I'd at least get them back to where they're comfortable and see how that goes.”

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