WASHINGTON -- One day after Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee said he needed better play from his goaltenders, Braden Holtby recorded the team's first shutout.
Troy Brouwer scored two goals and Holtby stopped all 27 shots he faced to record his fourth career shutout as the Capitals earned their most decisive victory of the season Saturday night, 5-0 over the Florida Panthers at the Verizon Center.
The Capitals (3-8-1) stopped a three-game losing streak, while the Panthers (4-6-1) saw their 3-0-1 streak halted in the final game of a four-game road trip.
The two teams will face each other again Tuesday night in Sunrise, Fla.
Holtby entered the game with a 1-4-0 record and an unsightly 4.73 goals-against average, but he was sharp the entire night. He also picked up his first assist of the season on Brouwer's second goal.
Joel Ward, Alex Ovechkin and Mathieu Perreault also scored for the Capitals, who had lost five of their previous six.
The Capitals entered the game with a history of dreadful second periods. They were coming off a loss in Pittsburgh in which they were outscored 5-0 in the second period, and they had been outscored 19-6 in second periods in their previous 11 games.
That all changed against the Panthers when goals by Brouwer and Ward gave the Capitals a 3-0 lead.
Washington opened the scoring with 2:15 gone in the first period when Brouwer deflected a John Carlson slap shot past Jose Theodore for a 1-0 lead.
The Caps had gone 0-4 when scoring the first goal of the game, but kept the pressure on Theodore in the second period to build their first three-goal lead of the season.
Holtby fired a 110-foot pass to Brouwer, who sneaked behind the Panthers' defense on a line change during a Washington power play early in the second period. Brouwer carried the puck over the blue line and blasted a shot inside the left post for his fourth goal of the season.
Washington made it 3-0 with 8:05 remaining in the period when forwards Mathieu Perreault and Eric Fehr won a battle along the boards with Kris Versteeg and Brian Campbell, allowing Fehr to find Ward for a snap shot inside the right post for his team-high fifth goal of the season.
Ovechkin made it 4-0 when he blasted a snap shot past Theodore off a faceoff win by Mike Ribeiro 3:49 into the final period. It was Ovechkin's fourth goal of the season and first at even strength.
Perreault finished it off for the Caps with his first of the season at the 9:28 mark of the third. It was Washington's fifth goal on 21 shots, forcing Panthers coach Kevin Dineen to lift Theodore for Scott Clemmensen. In the last 10 1/2 minutes, Clemmensen stopped all four shots he faced.
NOTES: The Capitals made right wing Marcus Johansson a healthy scratch for the third time in 12 games. Johansson, who recorded 14 goals and 46 points last season, has just one goal and four shots and is a team-worst minus-7 in nine games. "His confidence might be one of the problems with his play." Capitals coach Adam Oates said. ... Panthers coach Kevin Dineen and Oates combined to play in 2,525 NHL games during their careers. The Panthers got off to the worst start in the NHL by losing five of their first six games before going 3-0-1. The Capitals began the season with two wins in their first 12 games. "I can certainly understand how the heartbeat of a season has highs and lows and they're not on the upside," Dineen said before the game. "I think Adam is a really sharp hockey mind and they have some real quality players and we're very respectful of the fact they are a dangerous team." ... The Panthers were without defensemen Ed Jovanovski (knee) and Michael Caruso (wrist) and forwards Sean Bergenheim (undisclosed) and Scottie Upshall (ankle). Washington was without forward Brooks Laich (groin) and defensemen Tom Poti (upper body) and Jack Hillen (shoulder). Defenseman John Erskine returned after a three-game suspension and dropped the gloves against George Parros in the first period.