Panthers 3, Capitals 2, OT

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WASHINGTON (AP)—Even though Stephen Weiss scored the game-winner in overtime, he credited goaltender Roberto Luongo for the Florida Panthers’ slump-breaking victory.

Weiss scored 1:43 into overtime and the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday night with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Weiss took a feed from Viktor Kozlov, barreled past Washington defenseman Brendan Witt in the slot and beat goaltender Olaf Kolzig for his fourth goal of the season.

But it was Luongo’s 39-save effort—including 22 stops during the Capitals’ first-period barrage—that made the difference.

“That’s his game, for sure,” Weiss said. “It’s no secret, he won that game.”

Robert Lang scored on a goal-mouth scramble with 59.6 seconds left in regulation, extending his point scoring streak to a career-high 11 games. It is the longest streak in the NHL this season.

Standing in front of Luongo after Washington pulled Kolzig for an extra skater, Lang needed two tries to push the puck in for his team-leading 11th goal.

But all Lang could do was lament another hard-luck Capitals loss, pointing to Luongo as the difference.

“We just hit him with everything or he made a great save. … They didn’t outplay us by any means, but every now and then, the goalie can steal a game,” Lang said.

Florida broke an 0-6-1 winless streak against Washington and improved to 3-4 since general manager Rick Dudley replaced Mike Keenan as coach.

Kozlov and Kristian Huselius also scored for the Panthers, who last beat the Capitals on Jan. 7, 2002.

Jaromir Jagr had a goal for Washington.

The Capitals outshot the Panthers 23-8 in the opening period and went ahead 1-0 on Jagr’s power-play goal. With Andreas Lilja off for tripping, Jagr connected from the right circle after accepting a cross-ice feed from Sergei Gonchar.

But Luongo kept the Capitals at bay, leaving Florida’s Olli Jokinen to think about Jan. 11, 2003, when Washington blew out the Panthers 12-2 at home.

“I told (Luongo) at the 10-minute mark that hopefully tonight won’t be the same night as last year when we lost 12-2,” Jokinen said. “I was nervous it could be 6-0 after the first period and thankfully it was 1-0. He kept us in the game.”

Kozlov tied it 8:30 into the second with his fifth goal. Taking a lead pass in the high slot from Olli Jokinen, Kozlov put a move on defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski on the inside edge of the right circle, faked Kolzig down and out, and beat him with a low shot.

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead with 2:53 remaining in the third period on a power-play goal by Huselius.

Capitals defenseman Jason Doig was called for tripping Valeri Bure with 4:11 left, setting up Huselius’ goal. Florida’s Mike Van Ryn fired a slap shot from the right point and Huselius deflected it at the right post for his fourthgoal.

Notes

Kolzig became the 48th goalie to play 500 NHL games. … Florida recalled RW Juraj Kolnik and D Grant McNeill from San Antonio of the AHL to replace RW Mikael Samuelsson (jaw) and D Eric Messier (dislocated right wrist). … The Capitals had nine shots during a four-minute, first-period power playafter Bure was called for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike conduct.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
S. Weiss S. Weiss
Florida Panthers
Scored at 1:43 of OT

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Roberto Luongo Fla 41 39
Olaf Kolzig Tor 25 22