WASHINGTON -- The question that Panthers coach Kevin Dineen had to be asking after watching the resurgent Capitals score four goals on their first eight shots against two different goalies was probably: "Did goalie coach Robb Tallas bring his gear?"
Tallas, 39, who suited up Sunday when Jacob Markstrom's equipment was misplaced by the airline, couldn't have done worse than the Swedish rookie or veteran backup Scott Clemmensen in an embarrassing start to Thursday night's 7-1 blowout loss at the Verizon Center.
Anyone miss Jose Theodore? Tomas Vokoun? Stop me at Roberto Luongo.
The Panthers have been outscored 31-7 while dropping their last seven in the D.C. house of horrors, including a 5-0 loss last month. Only a goal by Jack Skille in the third period prevented Florida's fourth shutout loss in the last five games in the nation's capital.
"They're a good team in their building," Skille understated.
On the bright side, the realignment plan that was approved by the players Thursday has the Capitals and Panthers in separate divisions.
"I think they smell blood when we come in here," a disgusted Dineen said. "You outshoot a team 4-0 on the first two shifts and you let two goals in on two shots. Obviously, I didn't think Jacob Markstrom was ready to play tonight. ... The starting guy has to be the go-to guy, a hard lesson for us and (Markstrom).
"You could talk about pushback, but you get spanked 7-1, obviously, it's unacceptable."
There will be little time to pout as the Panthers host the Jets again Friday.
Young Caps goalie Braden Holtby had 29 saves and is 4-0 against Florida but 8-3 during a recent run that has moved the Caps out of the Eastern Conference basement, where the Panthers now reside by themselves at the halfway mark.