April 5, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Panthers Vs. Capitals: Caps Clinch! 4-2 Win, Buffalo Loss Puts Washington In Stanley Cup Playoffs

Alexander Semin's late goal and Buffalo's 2-1 loss to Philadelphia seals the deal for Washington.

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Michal Neuvirth Injury Update: Capitals Goaltender Day-To-Day

Washington Capitals' goaltender Michal Neuvirth sustained a left leg injury in the second period of the Caps 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Neuvirth bent back on his left leg when Marco Sturm fell on him in the second period. He lay prostrate on the ice before gingerly skating off, unable to put much weight on the leg. Head coach Dale Hunter said after the game that Neuvirth is day-to-day:

Via Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times:

But the concern remains about Neuvirth, whom coach Dale Hunter called "day-to-day" with a lower body injury.

"We don't know much right now," Hunter said. "We don't know nothing until tomorrow."

Neuvirth has played well recently, and the injury could be a big blow with only one game remaining before the playoffs start next week. As Whyno notes, Dany Sabourin would be the next goalie in line to be recalled.

For more on this game and all things Capitals hockey, please head over to Japers' Rink. For a view from the other bench, check out Litter Box Cats, SB Nation's Florida Panthers blog. You can also head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page for more on this and every NHL game.

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Panthers Vs. Capitals Recap: Washington Clinches Playoff Berth With 4-2 Win Over Florida

The Washington Capitals clinched a playoff berth in the penultimate game of the season on Thursday night, defeating Southeast Division leading Florida 4-2. With Buffalo's 2-1 loss in Philadelphia, the Caps are assured a spot but still have a shot at home ice and a Southeast Division title with this win over Florida.

The Capitals took a 3-0 lead on second period goals by Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich. Ovechkin's goal was an impressive effort as he skated across the front of Jose Theodore and flipped the puck past his former teammate as he fell to the ice. Laich ripped a shot past Theodore just two minutes later for the three-goal lead. But Florida would not go quietly, as Mikael Samuelsson ended the shutout with five minutes remaining in the second. Samuelsson fired a quick wrister from the left wing to make it 3-1.

The Panthers made it real interesting right at the start of the third, as Ed Jovanovski scored his third goal of the season just 42 seconds into the period to make it a one-goal game. Jovanovski ripped one from center ice out top and a screen in front obscured Braden Holtby who never saw the puck. Holtby, who replaced Michal Neuvirth after he sustained a leg injury, stood strong throughout the third period and kept the lead until an Alexander Semin score with a minute remaining pushed it back to two-goals. Semin skated in from the corner and faked Theodore with a quick backhand to the near post for his 21st goal of the year.

Just two points behind the Panthers, Washington can clinch the No. 3 seed with a win over the Rangers on Saturday night and a Panthers loss to Carolina,

For more on this game and all things Capitals hockey, please head over to Japers' Rink. For a view from the other bench, check out Litter Box Cats, SB Nation's Florida Panthers blog. You can also head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page for more on this and every NHL game.

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Michal Neuvirth Injury: Capitals Goaltender Leaves Game With Leg Injury

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Washington Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth left during the second period of Thursday's game against the Florida Panthers with an apparent left leg injury.

With the Caps pinned down in their own zone, Panthers forward Marco Sturm collided with Neuvirth, falling awkwardly on top of Neuvirth's extended left leg. Neuvirth spent a few minutes on the ice before being helped off. Braden Holtby entered the game to replace him.

The Caps cannot afford to lose Neuvirth, considering Tomas Vokoun is already out with a groin injury and his return is unknown at this time.

More information will be added as it becomes available.

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Panthers Vs. Capitals Score: Jay Beagle Has Washington Ahead

Dale Hunter is going to need more production from his stars if the Washington Capitals make the playoffs, but he'll be happy with goals from unlikely places. The Caps' big offensive stars were hardly involved in the first period of their crucial game against the Florida Panthers, but Jay Beagle was able to bag a goal, putting the Caps 1-0 up at the intermission.

The goal came six minutes into the period, with Troy Brouwer and Karl Alzner picking up the assists. None of Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin or Nicklas Backstrom managed a shot on target in the first period. The Caps had nine turnovers in the first period as well. They'll be happy with the lead, but they're not playing their best at the moment and eventually, their luck will probably run out if their best offensive players don't get involved in the game.

If the Caps win this game in regulation, it will still be mathematically possible to win the division, but they will need some help on Saturday. In the race for the eighth spot in the East, they control their own destiny.

For more on this game and all things Capitals hockey, please head over to Japers' Rink. For a view from the other bench, check out Litter Box Cats, SB Nation's Florida Panthers blog. You can also head over to the SB Nation NHL hub page for more on this and every NHL game.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Panthers Vs. Capitals: Jay Beagle's Goal Gives Caps 1-0 Lead

When the Washington Capitals needed a fast start, they got it from their hottest goal scorer: Jay Beagle.

Beagle's second goal in three games has the Caps up 1-0 on the Florida Panthers after 20 minutes a pivotal game with major playoff implications.

Beagle's fourth goal of the season came at 5:42 when he collected a Troy Brouwer rebound and beat former Cap Jose Theodore, making his first appearance at Verizon Center in nearly two years, to give Washington a 1-0 lead.

The Panthers dominated puck possession for most of the period after that, but could not score despite 10 shots. Michal Neuvirth had made eight saves to keep the Caps in the lead.

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Panthers Vs. Capitals: It's Win And (Nearly) In For Washington

The Capitals can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Florida and a Buffalo loss to Philadelphia.

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