Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
Florida
Panthers
37-34-11
Washington
Capitals
29-41-12
SO
44 SOG
40 SOG
1st2nd3rdOTsoT
FLA ()
WSH ()
game preview

Panthers-Capitals Preview

Saturday, 03.18.2006 / 7:00 PM

Associated Press

Share with your Friends


Panthers-Capitals Preview
Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals

GAME: Florida Panthers (27-30-9) at Washington Capitals (22-36-7).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Florida Panthers have taken advantage of a scheduling break that will keep them at home for most of March.

Now, they'll see if they can win away from home when they visit the Washington Capitals for their only road contest in a nine-game stretch.

Florida is 19-9-4 at home but has the league's third-worst record on the road, with only eight wins in 26 games. The Panthers have four wins in five games, their best stretch since Dec. 13-22.

Backup goalie Jamie McLennan made 24 saves to pick up his first victory since April 3, 2004, and Florida scored a power-play goal for the first time in six games to beat the New York Islanders 4-2 on Friday night.

"We haven't been in synch at all (on the power play)," said Joe Nieuwendyk, who scored with the man advantage in the second period. "I thought we were more aggressive tonight getting pucks to the net."

Juraj Kolnik scored the game-winner with 5:07 left as Florida kept alive its slim playoff chances. The Panthers are eight points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 17 games to play.

"I saw the puck was loose and I got up and put it in," Kolnik said of his winning goal. "It's a big two points for us."

The Panthers and Canadiens, though, will not play each other again in the regular season.

The Capitals will be looking to avoid tying a season-high with five straight losses.

Washington has scored 13 goals during the losing streak, but has struggled killing penalties. The Capitals have allowed eight power-play goals, including three in a 5-4 loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday.

Rookie star Alexander Ovechkin was held scoreless in the loss, the third time in the last four games he has been held without a point. He had a seven-game points streak before this recent slump.

A victory over Florida would give the Capitals a .500 record at home, but the team with the Eastern Conference's second-worst record has only seven wins away from Washington, tying it with Pittsburgh for the fewest in the NHL.

Florida has won six in a row over the Capitals overall and six straight against Washington on the road. The Capitals' last home win against the Panthers came on April 1, 2003.

STANDINGS: Panthers - 63 points, 4th place, 33 PB, Southeast Division. Capitals - 51 points, 5th place, 45 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Olli Jokinen, 32 goals, 39 assists and 71 points; Chris Gratton, 92 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 43 goals, 39 assists and 82 points; Chris Clark, 86 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Panthers - Power play: 14.7 percent (49 for 334), 27th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (342 for 412), 14th (tied). Capitals - Power play: 14.5 percent (57 for 393), 28th. Penalty killing: 78.2 percent (348 for 445), 29th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Roberto Luongo (26-26-9, 4 SO, 2.96 GAA); McLennan (1-4-0, 2.95). Capitals - Olaf Kolzig (17-25-7, 3.57); Brent Johnson (5-10-0, 4.09).

SEASON SERIES: Panthers, 5-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 7; Panthers, 5-0. At Washington, Jon Sim had his first career hat trick and Luongo stopped 44 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 8-21-5 on the road; Capitals - 15-16-5 at home.

2005-2006 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 15 '06WSH 2 at FLA 1 - SOM. Pettinger
Mar 22 '06WSH 2 at FLA 3J. Sim
Mar 18 '06FLA 4 at WSH 3 - SOJ. Nieuwendyk
Feb 07 '06FLA 5 at WSH 0J. Sim
Jan 08 '06FLA 4 at WSH 3 - SOJ. Nieuwendyk
Dec 18 '05FLA 3 at WSH 2R. Olesz
Dec 01 '05WSH 2 at FLA 3O. Jokinen
Oct 20 '05WSH 2 at FLA 3M. Van Ryn
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
PlayerGPGAP+/-PIMPPGW
GoalieGPRec.GASAGAASv%
OUR PARTNERS