The Washington Capitals ended the regular season in style with two straight wins against the Florida Panthers and, most recently, the New York Rangers. Saturday’s regular season finale did not disappoint Caps’ fans as they watched their team cruise to a 4-1 victory on enemy ice.
Alex Ovechkin started off the scoring a mere thirty-two seconds into the game, firing the puck home directly off the faceoff to put the Caps up 1-0 (38, assist: Brooks Laich). Wasting no time, Mathieu Perreault tipped in a Roman Hamrlik slap shot at 2:18, making the score 2-0 (16, Roman Hamrlik, Keith Aucoin). The Rangers, however, would turn things around slightly, registering eleven shots on goal to the Caps’ seven. Brayden Holtby, who had one of his most spectacular performances to date, was equal to the task. With time winding down in the first period, John Carlson made the probability of a Rangers comeback slightly more remote, blasting a slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist to put the Caps up 3-0 heading into the intermission (9, assists: Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson).
At 5:58 of the second period, Nick Backstrom would score his first goal since coming back from a concussion (14, assists: Alexander Semin, Roman Hamrlik), putting Washington up 4-0. New York’s Brian Boyle would break Holyby’s shutout (11, assists: Stu Bickel, Brandon Dubinsky) at 12:44 but it was all of the offense that the Eastern Conference’s top team could muster.
Brayden Holtby would turn aside thirteen shots from the Rangers in the third period, bringing his save total to thirty-five. Lundqvist, on the other hand, had a forgettable performance, giving up four goals on just seventeen shots against.
As if to put something of a damper on the Caps’ party, the Florida Panthers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, clinching their first ever Southeast Division title. In doing so, Florida locked Washington into the seventh seed where they will face the Boston Bruins.