The Panthers have won eight straight games overall against the Capitals, outscoring them 26-14 and converting 28 percent (13 of 46) of their power-play opportunities in that span. The Southeast Division rivals have both already been eliminated from playoff contention.
Florida defeated the Northeast Division champion Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Thursday when Joe Nieuwendyk scored 3:30 into overtime. He added an assist to extend his point streak to three games, totaling five goals and three assists in that span.
Olli Jokinen added his 38th goal, the third-highest single-season mark in team history. The Panthers’ center also added an assist for the Panthers, who took an early 3-0 lead.
Florida goaltender Roberto Luongo improved to 3-0 this season in games where he makes 46 or more saves.
“He’s awesome. He’s been like this pretty much all season,” said Panthers forward Martin Gelinas, who also scored a goal, of Luongo. “Overall he’s been a star out there and he’s been a pleasure to watch.”
While the Panthers have won two of their last three games, the Capitals have lost five of their last six, including a 5-3 defeat Thursday to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal to become just the second rookie in NHL history to reach 50 goals and 100 points. Teemu Selanne had 76 goals and 132 points for the Winnipeg Jets in 1992-93. Ovechkin added an assist and is third in the league with 102 points.
“I’m happy he got to 50,” said Capitals coach Glen Hanlon, whose team will miss the playoffs for the second straight season. “I would have hated to see him finish at 49 goals. It would have been sad because I know what it has meant to him.”
The Capitals, who have won just 11 road games, wrap up a four-game road trip with this contest.