SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers cooled off Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Tomas Kopecky scored the winning goal in the 10th round of a shootout in the Panthers’ 3-2 victory over the Capitals on Friday night.
Kopecky’s goal went high over Philipp Grubauer and into the net. It came after the Panthers missed five previous chances to win the game during the shootout.
The shootout matched the second-longest in Panthers history. The longest was 11 rounds against the Capitals on Nov. 28, 2007, a 2-1 Florida victory.
“Obviously, it feels good, especially to win the game and get that extra point,” Kopecky said. “We need every point right now.”
The Panthers won for the fourth time in five games and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Capitals. The Caps lost for the first time in four games.
Ovechkin was held without a point. He scored in each of the last seven games against the Panthers, and had four goals Tuesday night in a 6-5 overtime victory over Tampa Bay.
“He’s one of the hottest players in the league and we know he can turn a game real fast,” Panthers coach Peter Horachek said. “As a team we tried to pay attention to him. I think the guys did a really good job.”
Jonathan Huberdeau, Brad Boyes, and Nick Bjugstad also scored in the tiebreaker for Florida. Aleksander Barkov and Dylan Olsen had regulation goals, and Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves.
Clemmensen has had plenty of experience facing Ovechkin and the Capitals.
“He’s a Panther killer, has been ever since I’ve been here and this is my fifth year,” Clemmensen said. “So you’re always aware when he’s out there.”
Eric Fehr, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mikhail Grabovski scored shootout goals for Washington. Joel Ward and Backstrom scored in regulation, and Grubauer stopped 39 shots.
Washington had only seven shots in the first period, and didn’t get its eighth until 9:37 of the second.
That changed quickly after Erik Gudbranson’s blow to Fehr’s head at 16:16 of the second. Troy Brouwer then dropped the gloves with Gudbranson, drawing a fighting penalty. Gudbranson got a match penalty. Fehr returned in the third period.
Both teams scored during the resulting 4-on-4 play, and Washington added another goal on the power play.
“The guys on our team responded to that,” Brouwer said. “I didn’t get to see much after that but scoring two goals put us in a good position going into the third period to try to win the hockey game.”
The Capitals tied it at 1 when Backstrom scored 18 seconds into the 4-on-4 on a wrist shot from the slot. The Panthers answered when Barkov stole the puck near the blue line, brought it to the right circle, and wristed it past Grubauer on the stick side at 17:56.
Ward added a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the second. Originally ruled no-goal during a scrum in front of the net, the officials used a video review to determine the puck crossed the goal line.
“I tried to plant myself to get ready for a shot and I saw it kind of leak through the goalie,” Ward said. “There was no whistle called so I tried to follow it up and whack at it.”
Olsen’s goal started the scoring in the second. His bad-angle shot from low in the left circle got past Grubauer 2:13 into the period for his third goal in his past nine games.
“You just see an opening and you throw it on net,” Olsen said. “It’s been fortunate to go in.”
The Capitals had a goal disallowed in the opening minute when it was ruled Martin Erat nudged Clemmensen out of the goal and interference was called.
NOTES: Backstrom has 10 points in his last six games. … Florida G Tim Thomas missed the game because of a lower-body injury. He was hurt in practice Thursday. … Former Panthers goalie John Vanbiesbrouck was honoured with a bobblehead doll.