Who needs Alex Ovechkin anyway? The Caps certainly didn't as they pounded the Florida Pussycats 6-2 in a game that wasn't even that close.
The key for the Caps to win, apparently, is to face a mediocre opponent coming off a game the previous night.
Often, teams in that spot will have a quick burst of energy, a flurry early in the game as they try to get on the board to build some momentum.
Nope. Not the Panthers. The Caps skated circles around them early, in the middle, and late. They controlled the puck for long stretches of the game, with the Panthers barely able to put up much of an attack. It was 6-0 before a couple of late cheapies -- one bouncing off someone's backside -- "tightened" up the score.
The other Alex (Semin) was the hero of this one. He zipped two goals into the back of the net and set up two others with assists. In his first game back after his injury, he was all over the ice, paired with Brooks Laich and Nicky Backstrom.
Late in the game, with the score 4-0, the Panthers started to get chippy. After a clean hit behind the boards, the thuggish Mike Duco took a run at Alex Giroux. Catching him off-guard, Duco jumped him and started pounding him. Giroux fell to the ice on all fours with the momentum carrying the two sliding toward the boards. Duco continued to pound away, 'til the linesman pulled him off. Duco netted 27 minutes of penalties, including the rare one-sided five-minute major for fighting.
The cheapshot ticked off Bruce Boudreau. To send a message, he sent his top power-play unit back out on the ice, even though he said he'd normally have rolled more lines out there given the lead.
The Caps ended up scoring twice more, perhaps the best and sweetest kind of revenge.
It sure doesn't look like they need Ovie now... but we'll take him back anyway.