Martin Gelinas scored twice while Ville Peltonen added a goal and an assist to give the Panthers a 4-1 victory over the Capitals on Saturday.
Florida had 54 shots in a 7-3 victory over Washington last week. The Panthers dominated play after the first period in this game, outshooting the Capitals 42-18 for a 96-35 advantage the last two meetings.
“That was our game plan,” Florida coach Jacques Martin said. “They’ve got some excellent players. If you give them the puck or give them time or space they’re going to hurt you. They’re a hard-working team and they can do things offensively.”
The Panthers stopped a two-game losing streak overall and a five-game slide on the road in the teams’ last game before the all-star game. Washington, limited by several recent injuries on defence, has lost four of its last five games.
The Panthers pressured the Capitals’ young defence throughout, and Washington goalie Olie Kolzig stopped 38 shots to keep the Capitals close. Florida took command with two goals and an 18-3 edge in shots in the second period alone.
“Olie’s a great goalie,” Gelinas said. “We talked about before the game. We just got to keep shooting some rubber on him, and eventually we’re going to get some breaks. That did happen.”
Kolzig said the Capitals have gotten away from what they do best the last few games.
“We like to hang our hat on being the hardest-working team in the league,” Kolzig said. “But the last two games, we’ve been outworked. Maybe we think we’re a finesse team rather than a lunch-pail team.”
A bright spot for the Capitals was they held Florida to 0-for-10 on power-play chances.
The Panthers turned the game around by dominating play in the second period. Florida got the first 17 shots of the period, holding the Capitals without one until 5:48 remained.
Washington took advantage of a 5-on-3 power-play when Zubrus beat Florida goalie Ed Belfour from a sharp angle for a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the game.
Gelinas tied it for Florida at 2:42 of the second period. Jozef Stumpel gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead when he scored on a short-handed breakaway at 5:59.
“We got (the) momentum back,” Florida’s Ruslan Salei said. “We scored a couple of goals and we got the game in our hands.”
Peltonen added an insurance goal with 8:25 left in the game, and Gelinas sealed the win with an empty-netter in the final minute.
Florida goalie Ed Belfour had 17 saves in the win.
Notes: Washington D Brian Pothier (flu) missed his first game this season. … Mike Green returned to the Capitals’ lineup after missing Thursday’s win at Carolina due to a bruised foot. … Florida C Olli Jokinen is second in the NHL in shots, behind the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin. … Anthony Stewart also got an assist for Florida, his first point this season.