for this game

Caps try for best start in team history vs. Panthers

Oct 18, 2011 - 2:50 PM (Sports Network) - The NHL schedule makers made the start of the 2011-12 season quite easy for the Washington Capitals, as they shoot for the first 5-0 start in franchise history tonight versus the Southeast Division-rival Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals are playing four of their first five games at home and five of the initial seven games of the 2011-12 campaign in the nation's capital. Their 4-0 start this season matched the 1991-92 and 1997-98 Caps for the best in team history. Washington has never opened a season with four consecutive victories as the host.

In a 2-1 win versus Ottawa on Saturday, goaltender Tomas Vokoun made 33 saves and both Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson scored in the first period for the Capitals, who won a game in regulation for the first time this season. Vokoun has stopped 77 of the last 80 shots he has faced and spent the past four seasons with Florida.

"We did a couple good things out there, but I think a lot of things can get better," said Backstrom, who leads the Capitals with five points (1g-4a) this season.

Florida is in the midst of playing seven of its first 10 games of the season on the road and has won two in a row, including Monday's 7-4 victory at Tampa Bay. Kris Versteeg and Stephen Weiss scored twice and had two assists for the Panthers, who got four assists from Brian Campbell and tied a franchise record with five power-play goals. The last time that happened was Dec. 9, 1998 against Ottawa.

Tomas Kopecky, Sean Bergenheim and Jason Garrison also scored to help Florida complete a home-and-home sweep of the Lightning. Panthers goaltender Jose Theodore -- a former Capital -- stopped a season-high 35 shots in a winning cause. Jacob Markstrom may get the nod in net this evening.

"I just felt that it was a really good, quality effort from all around," Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen said. "Obviously, the power play had a really good night."

Dineen's squad is off to the best start since the 2005-06 version of the Panthers began the year with an identical 3-1-0 record. The Panthers have gone 7-for-15 with the man advantage over the last two games. Versteeg has notched at least one point in each of his first four games with Florida.

Florida and Washington are meeting for the 99th time tonight and the Panthers went 3-2-1 in the 2010-11 series. The Capitals, however, have recorded a 16-6-1 record in the past 23 meetings with the Panthers, outscoring the opponent by an 81-59 count.

Washington is 8-3-0 in the previous 11 home games versus Florida, while Caps star Alex Ovechkin posted seven points (2g-5a) in last year's series. He has accumulated 46 points (20g-26a) in 38 career games against the Panthers. Backstrom owns six goals and 22 assists in 26 lifetime appearances against Florida.

  • 19
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Panthers 0, Capitals 3  FinalNov 7 1:11 PM

  • FLORIDA: 0

    Oct 18 9:22 PM

  • Washington Goal - Jason Chimera (4), at 19:16.

    Panthers 0, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:44Oct 18 9:21 PM

  • Washington Goal - Alexander Semin (2), at 1:49.

    Panthers 0, Capitals 2  3rd - 18:11Oct 18 8:52 PM

  • FLORIDA: 0
    End of 2nd

    Oct 18 8:33 PM

  • FLORIDA: 0
    End of 1st

    Oct 18 7:41 PM

  • Washington Power-Play Goal - Marcus Johansson (3), at 4:23.

    Panthers 0, Capitals 1  1st - 15:37Oct 18 7:14 PM

  • FLORIDA: 0
    1st Period - 20:00

    Oct 18 7:08 PM
  • 14
    RUWTbot Added 14 roots

    Panthers vs. CapitalsJun 24 6:01 AM