FLORIDA PANTHERS: 4-5-1 (9 PTS.) vs. Washington Capitals: 2-8-1 (5 pts.)
Game Day Song: Working On The Highway. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
The final game of a long road trip can be a dangerous one from a few angles. Players are weary, tired of living our of suitcases, traveling, and potentially have their minds on getting home rather than finishing the task at hand. The Florida Panthers will play their fourth game of this week against the Washington Capitals tonight in D.C. and then return home to the sunshine and warmth of South Florida. The good news is that the Panthers have grabbed five of six points on the trip so far, and the prospect of facing the struggling Capitals tonight could leave them with seven of eight if they come out with a victory. All in all since their victory over Winnipeg at home, the Panthers have taken seven out of eight points in their last four games, and have scored an average of 3.5 goals per game in that span. Prior to that during an 0-5-0 streak Florida scored five goals total. While not a model of consistency, things are looking up since the five gam,e losing streak. Remember when I told you not to panic?
A big boost to Florida’s confidence has to be the come from behind victory on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers, which they won in the shootout no less. After trailing 2-1 heading into the third period, the Panthers managed to tie the game at two when Stephen Weiss picked up his first goal of the season (on the power play) with just over 11 minutes remaining. Then goaltender Jose Theodore held off the Flyers the rest of the way, as the Panthers needed to kill two third period penalties as well to get to extra hockey. The overtime period was all Philly as they otushot Florida 5-0, but Theodore stood tall, and looked confiedent going into the skills competition. Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller scored for Florida beating Ilya Bryzgalov, while Matt Read and Claude Giroux were stuffed by Theo. It was yet another gutsy victory by the Panthers who once agaion displayed their hard working style which made them so effective last season. The victory for Theodore was his third in a row as he heads into Washington:
“Coming in here and getting two points is huge for our confidence,” said Theodore, who’s 1-5-0 with a 3.88 goals-against average in his last seven games as an opponent at Washington.