The Washington Capitals had nothing to play for entering Saturday's regular season finale against the Florida Panthers. And judging by the result, they understood that.
The Caps could not muster any sort of offense against the Panthers and lost their 11th game via shutout in a 1-0 setback.
With both the Southeast Division and top seed in the Eastern Conference clinched, the Caps decided to rest some of their top forwards, including Jason Arnott and Marco Sturm. The rest of them, however, could not get anything going despite firing 28 shots on Tomas Vokoun, who earned his second shutout of the season against Washington.
After a quiet two and a half periods, the Panthers finally broke the scoreless stalemate on an ugly goal from Bill Thomas. The Capitals lost a defensive zone draw and Thomas' bouncer somehow trickled past Michal Neuvirth (22 saves) to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead with just over six minutes left.
Now that the regular season is over, the Capitals can turn their attention to the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs. The New York Rangers' 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils coupled with the Carolina Hurricanes' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning means that the Caps will host the Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals next week.