Stumpel had two goals and an assist against Washington, and new linemate Juraj Kolnik snapped a five-game point drought with a goal and an assist in the Panthers’ 6-3 victory over the Capitals on Thursday night.
“We got a big performance out of people like Jozef Stumpel,” Florida coach Jacques Martin said. “I thought his line was really excellent. Juraj Kolnik gave us a big game on that line, and it seems like the change of lines really helped out.”
Stumpel had three points for the second time in three games and has posted 15 points in 11 games.
“I feel comfortable out there,” Stumpel said. “We got this one done, and obviously we need to get the next one.”
Martin Gelinas, the player replaced by Kolnik on the line that includes Stumpel and Rostislav Olesz, also had a good night with two power-play goals. The Panthers finished 3-for-6 with the advantage.
“We just have to play a simple game, especially on special teams,” said Stumpel, whose second goal came during a power play. “Make sure you get goals, and we don’t get any against. Just playing our hockey.”
Ville Peltonen had the other goal for the Panthers, 7-1-2 in their last 10 home games.
Chris Clark, Alex Ovechkin and Dainius Zubrus scored for Washington, 2-7 in its last nine. Ovechkin scored for the fourth consecutive game and extended his point streak to 13 games, the longest in the NHL this season. He leads the league with 33 goals.
The Panthers beat Washington for the third time in 19 days.
“They seem to play pretty well against us,” Capitals defenceman Jamie Heward said. “They’ve got a lot of speed, and they have a lot of cohesiveness now. They’re doing the right things. They’re playing well together.”
Ed Belfour stopped 27 shots and improved to 20-6-2 against Washington. Olie Kolzig made 26 saves for the Capitals.
Stumpel opened the scoring at 1:17 when he backhanded in a long rebound from the slot.
His second goal came at 8:14 of the second and gave Florida a 4-1 lead. After Ruslan Salei’s slap shot from the point went off the post and hit the back of Kolzig’s leg, Stumpel retrieved the puck from behind the goal line and flipped it over the Washington goalie.
Stumpel came close to recording his first hat trick since Feb. 3, 1998, when he took a cross-ice pass near the net. Kolzig denied him with a sliding save.
Stumpel set up Kolnik’s goal when he fed him a cross-ice pass on a 2-on-1 and Kolnik one-timed it past Kolzig.
“It’s always nice to play with Jozef,” Kolnik said. “He’s a smart centre. He knows where his wings are.”
Washington trailed 5-1 after two periods before Ovechkin and Zubrus scored. Gelinas stopped the Capitals’ rally when he tipped in Stephen Weiss’ wrist shot on the power play.
“For us it’s goals against, and it’s not only on the road, it’s all over,” Washington coach Glen Hanlon said. “From the first quarter of the season, where we were a little below the middle of the pack – I think 20th – we’ve dropped to third from the bottom. It becomes difficult. We can’t be giving up six goals.
“We all have to take responsibility. We all have a job to do defensively and we’ll keep working at it.”
Notes: Weiss’ assist on Gelinas’ first goal was his 100th NHL point. … The Capitals dropped to 2-17-3 when trailing after one period. … Florida LW Gary Roberts missed his 11th consecutive game because of a hip injury. … Kolzig was called for two penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct and one for roughing.