Three observations from the Capitals' 5-4 loss to the Panthers Monday night:
1. The Caps have lost nine of their last 12 games and have dropped seven points behind the Panthers in the Southeast Division. The Caps have won the division four straight times, but if the playoffs began today, theyd be on the outside looking in. On Monday, their parade to the penalty box cost them. They took seven minor penalties and allowed the Panthers to convert on three of their six power plays. That came after the Caps had killed off 18 of their opponents previous 19 power plays.
2. Left wing Alex Ovechkin entered Monday nights game with 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) and 219 shots (5.6 per game) in 39 career games against the Panthers, but was held without a point and was a minus-2 with four shots Monday night. He also logged a season-high 22:05 of ice time. Ovechkin suffered a scare when he was hit in the jaw by a shot from teammate Dennis Wideman, but continued play.
3. Defenseman John Carlson says he played the best hockey of his amateur career under Dale Hunter when he played for him with the OHL London Knights. It's worth noting Carlsons ice time has increased steadily since Hunters arrival. On Monday he played 26:04 and picked up three assists and was a plus-3.