Playing against a division rival, games are worth four points. For the Washington Capitals, a win over the Southeast Division-leading Florida Panthers would mean cutting their five-point deficit to three points. That didn't happen, though.
The Panthers pounced early and often, scoring three unanswered goals to start the game and holding on for a 5-4 victory over the Caps, extending their division lead to seven points.
Bergenheim's goal came on the power play, giving the Panthers three power play goals. It's the second time this season that the Caps have allowed three power play goals. Tomas Fleischmann made the Caps look foolish when he drove wide on Michal Neuvirth and drew all five Caps on the ice before passing to an open Weiss at 12:11. It was Weiss' second goal of the game.
Eakin scored another late goal for the Caps when he took Mathieu Perreault's centering pass from behind the net and beat Scott Clemmensen high for his third goal of the season.
On the ensuing faceoff, Mike Santorelli took a pass from Dmitry Kulikov, drove down the right side and fired what seemed like a harmless snap shot. Yet, that harmless shot beat Neuvirth and just 13 seconds after Weiss' goal, the Panthers had a 2-0 lead.
Kulikov scored a goal of his own at 16:31 to give Florida its second power play goal of the night and a 3-0 lead. Luckily for Washington, Mike Knuble responded when his slap shot beat Scott Clemmensen five-hole for his third goal of the season and first in 16 games 40 seconds after Kulikov's goal.
Neuvirth made 32 saves in Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators, so when asked why he would receive the start despite Vokoun's homecoming, head coach Dale Hunter said that it was nothing more than a simple decision:
"It's just a choice; there's not much to explain," Hunter said. "Me and Dave Prior talked about it and thought it was a good way to go."
Meanwhile, Alexander Semin took part in morning skate and Hunter said Semin is "ready to go," but which forward will sit will be a game-time decision.
For more on Monday's game, follow this StoryStream throughout the day. For more on the Caps, visit SB Nation's Caps blog, Japers' Rink.