Boyd Gordon has done hardly any scoring for the Washington Capitals since his rookie season, but the right wing helped his team rebound from being shut out last weekend. Gordon looks to build on that effort when the Caps face the Florida Panthers at the BankAtlantic Center on Monday night.
Drafted by Washington in 2002, Gordon hadn't recorded a goal since the second game of his NHL career on Oct. 11, 2003. He ended the 71-game drought Saturday, scoring in the first period to key Washington's 3-1 home victory over the New York Rangers.
"It's been a while," said Gordon, in his third season with the Capitals. "It feels good to contribute and be part of a big win for us."
Gordon added an assist for Washington (7-5-4), which bounced back from a 5-0 loss to Calgary on Thursday and won for the third time in four games.
The Caps held an opponent to less than two goals for the first time this season. They'll try to carry over that defensive effort against the Panthers, whom Washington defeated 5-2 on Oct. 18.
"If we can keep bringing that same energy, we're going to be a tough team," Gordon said.
Left wing Alexander Ovechkin has helped power the Caps' 3-1 surge, scoring five goals in those contests. He scored in the third period Saturday to give him 11 goals and 19 points on the season, both team bests.
Washington's Olaf Kolzig recorded his first win since Oct. 30, stopping 41 shots and losing his bid for his first shutout of the season with 1:51 to play. Kolzig's last shutout came Feb. 15, 2004.
Ovechkin has three goals and five assists in nine games against Florida, while Kolzig is 21-14-2 with three ties and a 2.27 goals-against average against the Panthers.
Kolzig was in goal for the Oct. 18 victory over the Panthers, but Monday's meeting will be on the road, where the Capitals have won just three of nine games this season.
Although Florida (6-8-4) has won five of its eight home contests, it fell to 0-2-1 in its last three overall with a 4-2 road loss to New Jersey on Saturday.
"Their three goals on the power play was the difference in the hockey game," Panthers general manager and coach Jacques Martin said. "The bottom line was too many penalties."
During the three-game skid, Florida's opponents have capitalized on six of 22 power-play opportunities. The Panthers have been called for 92 penalty minutes in those games.
Florida leading scorer Olli Jokinen didn't score in either of the last two games, both on the road, where he has just three assists in 10 games this season. Jokinen has six goals and 10 assists overall.
In addition to recording six goals and seven assists at home, Jokinen has been successful against the Capitals, with eight goals and nine assists in 34 games against them.
Florida opens a three-game homestand Monday. The series between the Capitals and Panthers is tied 26-26-4 with nine draws, but the Capitals have won the last two matchups.