Washington Capitals: Caps Offense Explodes to Dominate the Florida Panthers 7-1

Barry LeonardAnalyst IIIMarch 7, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 07:  Mike Ribeiro #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Alex Ovechkin #8 and Karl Alzner #27 after scoring in the first period against the Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center on March 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals won their third game in a row and fifth in six outings on Thursday night. Alex Ovechkin was in superstar form, Mike Ribeiro stayed hot and Braden Holtby shone in net as the Caps dominated the Florida Panthers 7-1.

John Erskine started the scoring less than two minutes into the game on assists from Ovechkin and John Carlson. 

The Capitals didn't look back from there, adding three more first-period goals to take a 4-0 lead into the break.

Wojtek Wolski, Carlson and Ribeiro all lit the lamp in the opening period.

Florida got into trouble in the second period when Tyson Strachan blindsided Washington forward Jason Chimera with a dangerous hit. Strachan received a five-minute major and a 10-minute game misconduct for the hit.

That opened the door for the Caps on an extended power play. Ovechkin struck for his ninth goal of the season on assists from Troy Brouwer and Ribeiro.

The Caps added even more insurance in the third period, when Eric Fehr connected on a power-play goal from Wolski and Ribeiro. The goal was the sixth of the year and the second in a row for the veteran winger who's in his second stint with Washington.

Mathieu Perreault put the icing on the cake with a dazzling goal at 19:01.

Jack Skille scored Florida's only tally, an unassisted goal at 10:49 of the third period.

It was the only blemish on the scorecard for Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, who continued his solid play, posting his third win in a row. Holtby stopped 29 of the 30 shots in the contest and seems to finally be rounding into the form that he showed in last year's playoffs.

Capitals fans have to be both happy and impressed with this latest victory. The Caps played an all-around solid game and were whistled for just two penalties. Their fourth-ranked power-play unit converted on two of three opportunities.

After a dreadful start to the shortened 2013 season, Washington is slowly climbing toward the top of the Southeast Division.

Ovechkin, Ribeiro and Wolski led the Caps on offense, each registering a goal and two assists.