The National Hockey League's Board of Governors has approved realignment and a division-based format for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, effective for the 2013-14 season. The realignment plan creates two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven-team divisions in the Western Conference. The names of the divisions will be formalized at a later date.
The new alignment will place several clubs in more geographically appropriate groupings and will intensify already-fierce rivalries throughout the League. The new scheduling matrix will ensure that all 30 teams play in all 30 arenas at least once a season.
The Caps were listless in the first 40 minutes in South Florida, but woke up just in time to give the home-standing Panthers a scare on Monday night.
The Panthers jumped all over Dale Hunter and the visiting Caps with a three-goal spree in the first period on goals by Stephen Weiss, Mike Santorelli and Dmitry Kulikov. Mike Knuble answered late in the first for the Caps to make it 3-1 'Cats at the end of the first.
Michal Neuvirth, getting the start in place of ex-Panther Tomas Vokoun, wasn't very good. He allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first, including a softy to Santorelli, but didn't get much help from the team in front of him eith...