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Booth scores twice as Panthers skate past Capitals

SUNRISE, Florida (AP) -- David Booth had two goals and three

assists to lift the Florida Panthers to a 7-4 win over the

Washington Capitals on Saturday night in the regular-season

finale for both teams.

Steve Eminger and Michael Frolik scored in an 8-second span to

break a 4-4 tie in the third period. Nick Tarnasky added an

empty-netter with 9 seconds remaining.

Radek Dvorak and Bryan McCabe also scored for the Panthers, who

were eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday. Booth's

goals were his 30th and 31st of the season; he became the sixth

player in Florida's franchise history to reach the 30-goal mark.

Alexander Semin scored twice for Washington, and Brooks Laich

and Alexander Ovechkin also got goals. The Capitals clinched the

second seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday.

With his assist on Semin's goal, Ovechkin tied his career high

for assists in a season with 54, matching the total he set in

his rookie season.

Ovechkin finished the season likely to win the Maurice Richard

Trophy as the league's top goal scorer. He had 56 goals this

season, 11 more than Philadelphia center Jeff Carter.

The Capitals will face the New York Rangers in the first round

of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which start Wednesday.

Saturday's game was the end of the line for the Panthers, who

haven't been in the postseason since 2000. Florida came

tantalizingly close to the playoffs this year, finishing with 93


Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun made 37 saves, while Jose Theodore

stopped 35 shots for Washington.

Booth broke a 3-all tie with his goal at 6:48 in the third

period, but at 13:09 in the third, Ovechkin beat Vokoun to make

it 4-4. Eminger's goal, his first for the Panthers, came at

15:32 to break the 4-4 tie. Then Frolik put home a rebound of a

Booth shot at 15:40 in the third, giving Florida a 6-4 lead.

With 4:07 remaining in the second, Ovechkin's pass went off

Tarnasky and ricocheted toward Semin, who was near the crease.

He picked up the loose puck and closed the gap to 3-2. Then

Semin's power-play goal tied it at 3-3 at 3:27 of the third


The Panthers went up 3-1 on McCabe's power-play goal with 8:02

left in the second period. Booth's pass set up the goal.

Dvorak's breakaway goal at 8:20 in the second period gave

Florida a 2-1 lead. Dvorak, who had just come out of the penalty

box, took a pass from Karlis Skrastins near the blue line and

beat Theodore with a slap shot from the slot. Booth tied it at

1-1 with 4:10 left in the first period. He threw the puck toward

the net and it bounced off a Capitals player and into the net.

Washington opened the scoring at 10:15 in the first. Semin fed

the puck to Laich after Florida defenseman Keith Ballard turned

it over. Laich shot from the high slot to give the Capitals a

1-0 lead with his third goal in two games.


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