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Capitals rally to beat Panthers 5-4 in shootout

by John Kreiser

The Florida Panthers had no more success against Washington with Alex Ovechkin in the Caps' lineup than they did without him.

Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored in the third period to tie the game, and Tomas Fleischmann's goal in the sixth round of the shootout gave Washington a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Panthers on Wednesday night.

Washington overcame another poor first period and a 4-1 deficit to beat the Panthers for the fourth time in as many tries this season. The first three came without Ovechkin, who missed two games due to injury and another with a suspension.

Ovechkin's unassisted goal cut Florida's lead to one early in the third period. He picked up a loose puck and scored 27 seconds into the third, making it 4-3.

"It was kind of a lucky goal, but I'll take it," Ovechkin said.

The Capitals tied it 4-4 on Backstrom's tip-in, which trickled through Tomas Vokoun's pads at 12:25.

After a scoreless overtime, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich had shootout goals for the Capitals, while Frolik and Weiss scored for Florida in the tiebreaker before Fleischmann beat Vokoun for the win.

The Caps left Florida with a split after losing 7-4 at TampaBay on Tuesday -- a game they also trailed 4-1. They made up that deficit before the Lightning rallied; this time, they got the win.

"We started working pretty hard in the second period and the third was the same thing," Fleischmann said. "We came back and lucky for us we did."

Michael Frolik, Dominic Moore, Stephen Weiss and Gregory Campbell scored for Florida, and Vokoun stopped 33 shots.

Campbell's goal, his first of the season, chased Michal Neuvirth in favor of Jose Theodore and put Florida up 4-1 at 9:49 of the second period. Pothier's goal at 16:12 started the comeback.

"We always had that feeling tonight that something good was going to happen, we were always in striking range," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Once we made it 4-2 near the end of the second, we thought we could come back. Fortunately, for us, we did."

Theodore helped the comeback by stopping all 15 shots he faced.

Frolik opened the scoring at 6:44 in the first period, taking Weiss and beat Michal Neuvirth with a backhander.

Moore scored at 15:11 in the first period on an odd shot that initially wasn't credited as a goal. His backhand shot hit the crossbar and ricocheted out of the net. The crowd started to cheer, but play went on. The shot was reviewed when play stopped about a minute later and the goal was awarded.

Chimera closed the gap to 2-1 just 18 seconds into the second with his unassisted goal, but Florida made it 3-1 at 4:04 on Weiss' power-play goal, a slap shot from the blue line that went through Neuvirth's pads.

It was a frustrating night for Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, whose team saw a valuable point go sailing away.

"We have to learn how to win games," DeBoer said. "We do a lot of things right on a lot of nights, but this is a game that is about wins and losses and we aren't good at closing teams out or doing what it takes to finish teams off."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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