NHL: Washington 4, Florida 2

April 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 5 (UPI) -- Brooks Laich gave Washington a three-goal lead Thursday and the Capitals held on to down Florida 4-2, a result that clinched a playoff berth for both teams.

The seventh and eighth post-season berths in the Eastern Conference were made final when Washington downed Florida and Buffalo fell to Philadelphia.

Buffalo's post-season hopes were wiped out, even though the Sabres might wind up with the same number of points as Washington. The Capitals have the tiebreak edge over Buffalo, thus clinching at least the No. 8 playoff spot.

Washington still has a chance to win the Southeast Division, having climbed within two points of Florida with one game left to play. A Washington win Saturday over the New York Rangers, couple with a loss by Florida to Carolina, would leave the Capitals with the division title and the Panthers with the final spot in the seedings.

Laich scored 9:49 into the second period to put Washington in front 3-0, but goals by Mikael Samuelsson and Ed Jovanovski brought Florida within one.

Jovanovski's goal came just 42 seconds into the third period, but Braden Holtby held off the Panthers the rest of the way. Holtby entered the game in the second period to replace an injured Michal Neuvirth.

The four Washington goals all came against Jose Theodore, who stopped 19 shots.

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