Entering Tuesday’s game, Jason Chimera hadn’t scored since Jan. 11 against the Penguins, and the 11-game drought was beginning to weigh on the veteran winger.
After a hot start to the season with 11 goals and six assists in the first 26 games of the year, Chimera’s offensive production cooled rapidly as he recorded just three goals and three assists in the next 26 contests. Which brought him to the important tilt against the Panthers at Verizon Center.
From the outset it was apparent Chimera was revved up, and after displaying his trademark speed in 12 minutes and 51 seconds of ice time, he finished with a goal, an assist and a game-high eight shots.
“Sometimes when you get into goal-scoring slump, the fundamentals kind of go; you lose your hitting and you just try to think too much,” Chimera said when asked what sparked his furious pace before cracking a joke. “My parents came to town; maybe they should move in. Maybe that had something to do with it.”
On the first shift of the game, Chimera helped the Capitals take an early lead when he set up Mathieu Perreault out in front for a goal 13 seconds into the game.
Early in the second period, Chimera was part of a shorthanded rush that caught Florida by surprise. Somehow, Chimera wound up alone in perfect position to swat home a rebound of a shot by John Carlson. The goal gave Washington a 3-0 lead and appeared to demoralize the Panthers.
“Sometimes on the penalty kill, you’re surprised with the chances you get because guys are not coming back as hard maybe as they usually do,” Chimera said. “For whatever reason, power plays seem to relax a bit when they’re in their own end, sometimes you get chances.”
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