For the better part of four years, the Washington Capitals have dominated the Southeast Division and have four division championships to prove it. Yet, entering Monday, the Caps are looking up in the standings at their opponent Monday, the Florida Panthers.
A 5-9-1 skid cost Bruce Boudreau his job, but Washington lost its first two games under new coach Dale Hunter before a 3-2 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators Saturday. A 3-7-0 record in their last 10 games, juxtaposed by the Panthers' 6-3-1 run in the same span, has the Caps five points behind in second place in the Southeast Division.
Tomas Vokoun recorded a 20-save shutout in his first game against his former team October 18 in a 3-0 win. Monday will be Vokoun's first trip back to the city and franchise that he called home for four seasons.
Speaking of players and former teams, former Cap Tomas Fleischmann is having a comeback season with 27 points, 10th in the NHL. An injury-plagued 2010-11 season that saw Fleischmann leave the Caps via trade only led to 31 games. Kris Versteeg, like Fleischmann, has 12 goals.
Another former Cap, Jose Theodore has been solid in net for Florida with a 10-5-3 record, 2.28 GAA and .924 SV%.