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GAME: Washington Capitals (10-19-1-1) at Florida Panthers (10-15-6-1).TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Robert Lang is having a tremendous season, and he just might be starting to rub off on his teammates.
Lang will look to continue his scoring tear when the Washington Capitals travel to Florida to play the Panthers.
Having played for four teams during his 11-year career, Lang appears to have found a home in Washington as he leads the NHL in scoring with 17 goals and 40 points, one ahead of Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk.
Lang is well on his way to shattering his previous career high of 32 goals and 80 points, set during the 2000-01 campaign with Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound center had two goals and two assists Tuesday as the Capitals ripped Atlanta 5-0.
The Capitals, who improved to 2-1 under new coach Glen Hanlon, entered the game having scored more than two goals just 10 times in 30 games.
"I think everybody's excited. New system. Everybody's sort of like rejuvenated," Lang said. "Tonight was just one of those nights. Everybody wanted to win and wanted to be part of it."
Lang has recorded at least one point in 20 of his last 22 games, including a 16-game point streak from Oct. 31-Dec. 2.
As great as Lang was Tuesday, goaltender Maxime Ouellet may have been better. Playing in his first NHL game since 2000 and making just his second career start, Ouellet stopped 37 shots for his first career shutout.
The Panthers are just 1-2-2-1 in December, including a 4-1 loss to Detroit on Tuesday.
Rookie defenseman Lukas Krajicek, Florida's first pick in the 2001 draft, will be looking to make amends for a miserable game.
With the score tied at 1 in the second period, Krajicek, Florida's first pick in the 2001 draft, skated in front of his own net with the puck, but Detroit's Kirk Maltby knocked it off of the Florida defenseman's stick and past goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Luongo defended the 20-year-old Czech defenseman, who finished the game a miserable minus-3 despite scoring the Panthers' lone goal.
"Those things happen. He's a young guy," Luongo said. "Hopefully, he learned his lesson. He's got to keep his head up and learn from it. That's all he can do."
The Panthers were outshot 39-22 and were short-handed six times.
"You can't kill that many penalties," Florida coach Rick Dudley said. "It was one after another. Guys get worn out. For two periods, we were a pretty good hockey team."