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Caps Blank Panthers

One night after getting trounced in Atlanta, the Caps were better tonight at BankAtlantic Center. The defense was good, Jose Theodore was solid and they got some much-needed secondary scoring en route to a 3-0 win over a Florida team that didn't put up much of a fight, particularly late.

As I said, I thought the Caps' defense was good. But it got plenty of help from the supposedly desperate Panthers, who registered zero shots on goal in the third period.

That's right, zero.

When I told Mike Green, he didn't believe me. I told John Erskine, who shook his head and laughed. Coach Bruce Boudreau, who has seen everything there is to see in hockey probably three times, said it was a first for him, too.

"I've never been involved in a game where that's happened," Boudreau said of holding the Panthers without a shot for the final 20 minutes. "It's a great testament to our players. They proved they can do it when they want to do it. It was a total team win and we got that secondary scoring."

According to the media guide, it was the third time the Caps held an opponent without a shot in a period. And it's the second time they've done it to Florida.

I asked Theodore if it's hard for a goaltender to maintain his focus when there's so little action around his net. He assured me that he never got bored.

"When it's a 1-0 or 2-0 game, you're never bored," he said. "If it was a 5-0 game in the third period, maybe I'm bored. But tonight I was just really focused."

More Theo
Theodore made 19 saves to record his second shutout of the season and the 28th shutout of his career. But more important, it restored his confidence after being pulled in Atlanta.

"When you play almost every game, the good thing is you can bounce back right away," he said. "Tonight is a great example. Yesterday was a totally different team than we saw tonight. It was not my best game [against the Thrashers] but tonight I was ready for the challenge."

A Lot to Laich
Brooks Laich notched the 18th goal of the season -- shorthanded -- and is closing in on his career high of 21, which he set last season. Laich beat Tomas Vokoun with a beautiful shot from a tight angle that went under Vokoun's blocker and kissed the post on the way in. Looked to me that Vokoun overplayed Laich and was out of position as a result.

Then on Viktor Kozlov's goal, Laich was in a familiar spot on the ice: parked in front of Vokoun.

"I don't know what more to say about [Laich]," Boudreau said. "He's a solid professional."

Mr. Bouwmeester to You
Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester was all over the place tonight. Alex Ovechkin didn't have his strongest effort, but a lot of that had to do with No. 4 on the Panthers, who never seemed to be more than a few strides away from the reigning MVP.

"Alex might have been smothered," Boudreau said. "But that's why you need secondary scoring. You put your best player, in their case Bouwmeester, on Alex, you need your other lines to step up."

Flash Struggling
Tomas Fleischmann got off to a strong start this season, but the crafty winger has struggled mightily of late. He has only one goal in 17 games and no points in his past nine games. Tonight, he didn't register a shot on goal in 14:17, which was the fifth-highest ice time total among the forwards.

That's all from me tonight. I've got another early-morning flight to Tampa, where the Caps are not expected to practice. I will, however, be on duty and plan to have a story on Laich in Thursday's paper.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 17, 2009; 11:44 PM ET
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Next: Morning Reading List: Win Highlights, Varlamov's Mask


Just made the hour and a half trek home to Ft. Myers, FL from BankAtlantic Center after watching a workmanlike 3-0 victory over the Panthers.

I sat right next to the runway and the shots I got of the players waiting to come out to the ice - WOW. Great game.

TO ANY THEO DOUBTERS - Shut up. Seriously. He kept everything out of the net and he's playing strong when he has the support of his team - which tonight proved to be a perfect example and he has made some crazy saves in the past.

This effort was fantastic. This was payback - FLA came in and put up six in DC and the Caps came down here and blanked them. Ohhhhh how sweet this was to watch tonight. A great job by Brooksie and Kozlov let that shot go right when Vokoun became screened - see what happens when you get traffic in front of the net????? A great effort having played the night before. That was an ugly and disappointing effort for Florida.

In conclusion: Theodore shut the door.

On to Tampa. Ice Breakers Goal Shakers.

Posted by: Jonathan6 | March 18, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: masterx09 | March 18, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

thats the type of defense that can win championships, it just needs to be consistant, maybe not 0 shots in a period every night, but play like they did tonight. theres no reason they cant play like this every night

Posted by: bearsfan26 | March 18, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I just don't know what management see's in Flash. I never have. He is just not hockey smart enough to know how to use his talent.
A player that does not make the right decision most of the time like him will wear out his welcome eventually, and he will be out of here. I suppose they need his talent until he can be replaced and they are hoping he get's smarter. I am not holding my breath.

Posted by: OldFan | March 18, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Malkin might of just won the MVP trophy tonite with a 5 pointer...

Posted by: hardyboys0 | March 18, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse


Since when does a one-night performance sew up the MVP trophy?

Posted by: Capsfan78 | March 18, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I have full confidence in long as our opponents get zero shots on net, we'll be fine;)

Posted by: donknutts | March 18, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

donknutts, you do realize he's playing behind our defense, right? :-P

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 18, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

our "defense"

Posted by: large23220 | March 18, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

but hopefully Erskine and Schultz are getting with it.

Shamo has been more physical and less disastrous lately too.

Who knows how these kids will be doing in a month.

Anything is possible.

Posted by: large23220 | March 18, 2009 2:09 AM | Report abuse


not just one night...tonite was just sort of the exclamation point.
pens look like theyll make the playoffs.. caps mildly sputturing...

i dont know..and you know they like to pass that thing around too

Posted by: hardyboys0 | March 18, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

As if the new subheads weren't enough, now we get puns? Sheesh.

Posted by: BigMogilny | March 18, 2009 3:27 AM | Report abuse

Early morning musing:
When you get to your door at 1am CST from a long wkd away from it all. Make sure your keys aren't still living in EST

Posted by: austinsteve | March 18, 2009 3:41 AM | Report abuse

i don't think Malkin is going to win MVP. yes he has a huge lead in points BUT they're all mostly assists. other then putting up rediculous totals he hasnt really done anything extraoridnary...example if ovie score 60 again hat is far more impessive then putting up 100+ points. Malkin's PP numbers aren;t very impressive either. He only hs 3 GWG's...I'm not knocking Geno because I think he is amazing talent...but putting up more poins does not guarentee MVP by any means. I just wouldnt be so quickto say he isMVP,I think he is definately afront runner, but I donot think he has won it

Posted by: capsfan387 | March 18, 2009 4:46 AM | Report abuse

sorry for all the gramatical errors but this keyboard is really funky. anyways YAY CAPS!!!

Posted by: capsfan387 | March 18, 2009 4:49 AM | Report abuse

AO for the Hart. Geno will probably walk away with the Lester Pearson. Or vice versa...

Posted by: jpalexa1 | March 18, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

Continued from previous post:

Has anyone noticed how hard the Caps play the teams that look like they will make it to the playoffs?

Just an observation, but REALLY check how the caps play Florida tonight, it's as if they are reading these teams to see what they are up against in the playoffs.

The caps have already beaten the top 7 teams in the eastern conference as well as Detroit.

BB also stated that he knows what the teams in the SE division is doing every minute of a game.

Unfortunately I'm going to miss the game tonight, but to those who will be watching, pay attention to how the team plays. I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong.

Last night was a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

Posted by: bajgirl | March 18, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan, I want to see Ovie get jobbed for MVP by Malkin, just so he can play pissed off next year and drop 80 on the league. That is, if he even cares about the hardware. I'd rather have Ovie scaring the piss out of opposing teams every night than polishing some trophy.

Posted by: johnb5 | March 18, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

After only watching the highlights I did hesitate a bit when I noticed the Panthers seemed to have way more scoring chances, including a number of 1 on 1's with Jose.

Seems like Jose had a stellar night, again.

Posted by: smutsboy | March 18, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

some of you guys have obviously missed your calling. We have several TRUE comedians in our midst. I forget who it was that said Nyls would pull up ON A BREAKAWAY, but that was funny as hell!! And, donknutts' crack about Theo --"I have full confidence in long as our opponent gets zero shots on net, we'll be fine." Now, that's some hilarious stuff! Keep em coming.

Posted by: Puckguru | March 18, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru: Is there any doubt that you're the Sarah Pallin of these blogs? None here, that's for sure.

Here, have some prune juice. Good for any digestive blockage you got goin' on. Seems to be spilling out of your mouth whenever you post.

Let's GOO Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 18, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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