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Capitals 5, Panthers 4

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SUNRISE, Fla. -- Washington captain Alex Ovechkin scored the go-ahead goal with 4:17 remaining in the first game back from the Olympic break to give the Capitals a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night in front of 14,180 at BB&T Center.

It was Ovechkin's 41st goal of the season and third point of the contest, which came on a one-timer from center Brooks Laich after a turnover in the Florida zone.

Twice Washington allowed the Panthers to overcome two-goal deficits.

The Capitals captured a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals less than three minutes apart.

Defenseman John Carlson took a shot in front of the blue line and center Nicklas Backstrom deflected it. Right winger Troy Brouwer beat defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the loose puck for his 15th goal of the season 5:48 into the period.

After defenseman Dmitry Orlov caused a turnover near center ice, Ovechkin fed a pass to Laich, who one-timed it past goaltender Tim Thomas' glove side at 8:10.

The Panthers trimmed the deficit to 2-1 with 4:33 left in the period on left winger Tomas Fleischmann's sixth of the season.

Center Marcel Goc cleared the puck, and its bounces gave Orlov trouble in front of the blue line. Center Jesse Winchester stole it and sent a one-timer to Fleischmann for his first goal in 23 games.

Florida evened it at 2 just 40 seconds into the second on right winger Brad Boyes' 16th of the season on an assist from left winger Sean Bergenheim.

Boyes chased down the puck for a turnover in the Washington zone and went behind the net. Bergenheim received his pass and shot at the net. The rebound went to Boyes, who backhanded it in.

The Capitals regained the lead two minutes later on Backstrom's 12th of the season.

Right winger Martin Erat crossed the puck, which deflected off defenseman Ed Jovanovski's skate, directly to Backstrom near the crease. Carlson collected his second assist of the night on the play.

Brouwer extended the lead to two with his second power-play goal of the game with 46.3 seconds remaining in the second, putting in a rebound off Ovechkin's one-timer from Backstrom.

With 11:47 left in regulation, right winger Jimmy Hayes deflected left winger Scottie Upshall's shot for a power-play goal -- his fifth of the season. Defenseman Brian Campbell also recorded an assist.

Less than two minutes later, Boyes knotted it at 4 when his initial shot bounced off the stick of defenseman Mike Green and back to him for his second goal of the night. Center Nick Bjugstad had led the 2-on-2 rush.

NOTES: Capitals D Mike Green, out since Jan. 30 with a concussion, started Thursday. ... C Mikhail Grabovski, who sustained an ankle injury Jan. 24, also returned. ... Washington recalled D Julien Brouillette and C Nicolas Deschamps from AHL Hershey and reassigned D Jack Hillen to Hershey on long-term injury/illness exception conditioning loan. ... Both Panthers representatives at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia -- C Aleksander Barkov (knee) and RW Tomas Kopecky (concussion) -- were placed on the injured reserve list. ... On this date in 2007, former Panthers C Olli Jokinen recorded his third hat trick of the season in a 6-5 shootout win over Washington. ... PGA golfers Thomas Bjorn and Keegan Bradley, in town for the Honda Classic, were in attendance.
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