As the second period against the Florida Panthers began Saturday night, it seemed as though the Capitals might never get back on the scoreboard. But by following the simplest of goal-scoring instructions in going to the net, Eric Fehr again helped Washington break through.
Fehr's goal at the 5:32 mark of the second period ended a goal-scoring drought of 96:27 for the Capitals, who hadn't seen a puck cross a goal line in their favor since Fehr's breakaway tally in the Winter Classic against the Penguins a week earlier. But when Mike Green wrapped around the net and threw the puck out in front, the right wing was waiting to knock it into the net.
"I was just going to the front of the net with my stick down, hoping there'd be a rebound or anything," Fehr said. "Luckily, he put it right on my stick...I'm feeling pretty good right now. I want the puck -- that's always a good sign, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling. I thought our line did a great job of forechecking and trying to create energy for the team."
The goal was Fehr's fourth in the last six games; he also has three assists during that span. Fehr was the hero of the Winter Classic, scoring two goals to help boost the Capitals over the rival Penguins, but even after that success, Coach Bruce Boudreau stressed to not "anoint" the right wing for one solid performance.
Consistency is Fehr's main goal and obstacle at the same time. He's been a healthy scratch four times this season and is feeling pressure to produce goals and points, like much of the locker room, when the team as a whole can't manufacture offense the way it has in the past. After Washington's 3-2 win over Florida on Saturday, though, Boudreau said he sensed Fehr growing more self-assured.
"He's getting more confidence. Eric's a guy that lives in confidence and he's playing a little bit more and so those are all good things," Boudreau said. "If I recall correctly, he started scoring a lot of his goals from the middle to the latter half of the year last year, too -- so maybe he's just naturally a slow starter and he's going to come on now."
Fehr posted a career-high 21 goals and 39 points in the 2009-10 season. Twelve of those tallies and 20 of those points were recorded in January or later.