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Panthers 4, Capitals 3, SO @NHLdotcom

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thanks to Roberto Luongo, the Florida Panthers ended a grueling road swing with five points and a break-even record.

Luongo made two shootout saves, Nathan Horton and Joe Nieuwendyk scored shootout goals and the Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Sunday.

``It was a must-win for us, obviously,'' said Panthers center Olli Jokinen, who scored twice. ``I guess we have to be satisfied - we played .500. But at this point in the year, it's not going to be enough for us.''

Sean Hill added a goal in regulation for the Panthers, who ended a season-long five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 record. Horton and Nieuwendyk added two assists apiece.

Dainius Zubrus had two goals and Jamie Heward also scored for Washington, which squandered a 2-0 lead and has dropped four straight. Alex Ovechkin had two assists.

``We had a jump at the beginning of the game,'' Zubrus said. ``We were playing well and then, just like a couple of games ago, we got into trouble with penalties. Seems like a broken record.''

Horton and Nieuwendyk both scored by putting the puck between Olaf Kolzig's pads after Kolzig had blocked the first shootout attempt by Jokinen. Brooks Laich scored a shootout goal for the Capitals, but Luongo made a kick save at the left post on Ovechkin and batted away Brian Willsie's shot with his left hand.

Ovechkin was 5-for-7 on shootout attempts before being denied by Luongo's sprawling stop.

``That's my job - make saves and try to keep my team in it. I was trying to wait (Ovechkin) out,'' said Luongo, who made 29 saves in regulation and four more in overtime. ``I just hoped I could get a piece of it.''

Florida won its second game at MCI Center this season, snapping a three-game losing streak. Against the rest of the NHL, the Panthers are 3-16-4 on the road. The Panthers have also won five straight overall against Washington.

``We just got lucky in here a couple of times,'' Horton said. ``We worked hard, we battled and we got points.''

Heward's slap shot from the right point gave Washington a 1-0 lead 19 seconds into the game, and Zubrus got his 100th career goal on a power play to make it 2-0 at 3:57.

Zubrus dashed to the right post to put in a cross-crease pass from Matt Pettinger, giving the Capitals a power-play goal in nine straight games, a season high.

Hill's wrister from the top of the right circle at 17:25 cut the lead in half.

Florida, which failed on a 1:04 two-man advantage in the opening period, got goals from Jokinen on successive power-play opportunities 50 seconds apart midway through the second.

A holding penalty on Steve Eminger set up Jokinen's 19th goal of the season at 10:16. Jokinen fired a shot past a screened Kolzig from the right point to tie it.

Laich went off for high-sticking 12 seconds later and Jokinen put the Panthers ahead at 11:06, sweeping in a cross-ice feed by Nieuwendyk from low in the left circle.

Zubrus' man-up goal tied it with 7:17 left in regulation. Zubrus scored from the right circle, one-timing a pass from Bryan Muir.

Notes: Jokinen had not scored a goal in five games, matching his longest drought of the season. ... Zubrus has a point in five straight games, a career high. ... Ovechkin has assisted on all six of Heward's goals. ... Florida scratched C Stephen Weiss (wrist) for a fourth consecutive game, while Capitals C Jeff Halpern (groin) missed his third straight game.

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