The most obvious place you could see the difference was also the most important: the scoreboard.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov provided a showcase for their underrated top line while Al Montoya cleaned up plenty of messes in the Florida Panthers’ 5-2 win against Washington.
The Caps generated a 38-19 shots on goal advantage, yet the Panthers broke their slump in D.C., nabbing their first road win against Washington since Dec. 9, 2010.
The bigger picture is even more impressive for Florida. They’re now on a four-game winning streak, and a brief stumble following their record run now seems an afterthought; they’re an impressive 16-3-1 in their last 20 contests.
In other words, there were times when the Capitals looked the part of a team that’s towering over the rest of the East … but the Panthers countered with an argument for why they’re comfortable atop the Atlantic Division.