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Jose Theodore makes 19 saves in Caps' 3-0 win over the Panthers

SUNRISE, Fla. - Jose Theodore made 19 saves in his second shutout of the season to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-0 win over the slumping Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Brooks Laich and Viktor Kozlov scored for Washington, which earned its fourth win in five games. Mike Green added an empty-net goal with 1:27 left, and John Erskine had two assists.

Florida dropped a fourth straight game for the first time since late December. The Panthers, who hadn't lost two consecutive home games since January, didn't manage a shot in the third period.

Washington remained in third place in the Eastern Conference behind New Jersey, which beat Chicago 3-2. The Capitals had an opportunity to move into second place on Monday, but lost 5-1 to the Atlanta Thrashers in Washington's most lopsided defeat since a 6-2 loss to Florida on March 1.

Tomas Vokoun stopped 22 shots for Florida, which is in the midst of a five-game homestand.

Vokoun had lost two previous starts against Washington this season and is 1-6 in his last seven games against the Capitals.

The Panthers went 8-5 in February but the team, coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday, has been struggling of late. Florida, which has not been to the playoffs since 2000, entered Tuesday's game in ninth place in the East. The Panthers are one point behind eighth-place Carolina.

Kozlov's goal made it 2-0 at 2:36 of the third period, beating Vokoun with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. The Capitals took a 1-0 lead with Laich's short-handed goal at 5:46 in the second period. Laich's wrist shot from a sharp angle found the back of the net for his 18th goal of the season.

Alex Ovechkin, held without a point for the first time in 11 games on Monday, had an assist on Green's goal, but it was the first time in a month that he has had back-to-back games without netting a goal himself.

Notes: Panthers D Bryan McCabe, who had missed three straight games with a fractured orbital bone, returned to the lineup. ... Washington is 4-0 when playing on the road on St. Patrick's Day. ... Vokoun was honored for his 500th NHL game, which was March 7 against St. Louis.



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