Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (SO)

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers won their second game in a row -- both in shootouts -- defeating the Washington Capitals 3-2 in a battle of backup goalies Friday.
In the 12th round of the shootout, right winger Tomas Kopecky scored to give the Panthers the win.
Pantheers goaltender Scott Clemmensen got off to a rocky start, giving up an apparent goal 41 seconds into the game, although it was waved off due to goaltender interference. Less than a minute later, center Marcus Johansson hit the right post.
With 10:41 left in the first period, Florida got a hard-earned four-minute power play when Capitals defenseman John Carlson high-sticked Kopecky in the face. But the Panthers couldn't convert.
Florida broke through with 2:13 elapsed in the second period as rookie defenseman Dylan Olsen scored from the wing, beating Capitals goaltender Phillipp Grubauer with a high wrist shot for his third goal of the season.
With 3:26 left in the second period, Washington tied the score at 1 when center Nicklas Backstrom beat Clemmensen high to the glove side for his eighth goal of the season.
Center Aleksander Barkov put the Panthers up 2-1 with 2:04 left in the second period. Barkov split two defensemen and fired a wrist shot that beat Grubauer stick-side.
The Capitals tied the score at 2 on a power-play goal by right winger Joel Ward, who survived a scramble out in front and barely shoved the puck over the line. It was Ward's 10th goal of the season, and it survived a video review.
Clemmensen, a 36-year-old career backup who entered the game with a 3.89 goals-against-average, got his first win of the season and is now 1-2-1.
Grubauer, a 22-year-old rookie from Germany who entered the game with a 1.36 goals-against-average, took his first career loss and is now 2-1. With Grubauer in the net, the Capitals were able to rest starter Braden Holtby. Veteran Michal Neuvirth (lower body) was sent to the AHL for the weekend on a conditioning assignment as he prepares to return to the lineup.
Florida, next-to-last in the Atlantic Division with 27 points, is set to begin a four-game road trip in Montreal on Sunday. The Capitals, who are second in the Metropolitan Division with 37 points, now return home for a Sunday afternoon game against Philadelphia.
NOTES: G Tim Thomas, who started 15 of the Panthers' past 16 games, injured his groin in practice Thursday and is out indefinitely. Entering Friday, he had nine of the Panthers' 10 wins. ... With Thomas out, the Panthers called up G Jacob Markstrom from the AHL. ... Capitals LW Brooks Laich (groin), D John Erskine (knee) and D Jack Hillen (leg) are out. ... Erskine is practicing and close to returning, and Laich is working on the ice but not yet practicing. ... Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin entered Friday with 48 goals in his past 50 games. ... Capitals C Nicklas Backstrom leads the NHL with four games with three or more assists this season. ... The Panthers have improved under new coach Peter Horachek. They were 3-9-4 this season under the since-fired Kevin Dineen. In the same amount of games (16) under Horachek, entering Friday, the Panthers were 7-8-1. ... Former Panthers G John Vanbiesbrouck was honored Friday with a bobblehead-doll give-away.

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