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Panthers 5, Capitals 0 @NHLdotcom

WASHINGTON (AP) - Florida newcomer Jon Sim gave the Panthers a big lift.

Sim had his first career hat trick and Roberto Luongo made 44 saves for his fourth shutout of the season in the Panthers' 5-0 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

``We worked hard tonight,'' said Sim, who added an assist for a four-point night. ``Finally, pucks are starting to find their way in. It's a good feeling.''

But they weren't necessarily a surprise, even for a forward better known as an energy source rather than a scorer. Playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Sim hat two tricks against the Capitals in the preseason.

``There's something about (playing) this team, I don't know,'' said Sim, acquired from Philadelphia for a sixth-round draft pick Jan. 23. ``I'm excited we got the win. The goals are a bonus.''

Juraj Kolnik and Joe Nieuwendyk also scored and Chris Gratton had three assists for the Panthers, who had lost two of three games. Florida improved to 5-0 against Washington this season.

The Capitals, who had won four of five at home, have dropped six of eight overall. They have been shut out in consecutive games and have not scored in 121:47 over three games.

``We just play how we can and we don't score,'' said Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, who came up empty on 10 shots. ``Everybody is trying hard. ... We just play and we don't have luck.''

Washington had 18 first-period shots - five on an early power play - but couldn't get the puck past Luongo, who finished with his 27th career shutout.

``I just tried to weather the storm,'' Luongo said. ``That's going to happen often when you play on the road. Teams come out strong.''

Any offensive momentum the Capitals generated was negated early in the second period when Sim stretched his goal-scoring streak to three games.

``What he's bringing to us is effort,'' Nieuwendyk said. ``He's hunting the puck down.''

A hooking penalty on Jeff Friesen set up Sim's 10th goal of the season on a power play at 4:39.

Gratton collected a loose puck after Jozef Stumpel's shot glanced off the left post and passed behind goalie Olaf Kolzig to Sim, who went by defenseman Shaone Morisson for an easy tap-in at the goal line.

Two minutes later, Sim gave Florida a 2-0 lead. Kolzig stopped Sim's drive from the right side, but the puck skittered toward the left post. Sim circled the net, belly-flopping and swiping with a right-handed shot that caromed in off Kolzig.

``My arms are shorter than a lot of people,'' Sim said. ``I really had to reach. It took a lucky bounce.''

The Panthers went up 3-0 with 6 seconds remaining in the second. Kolnik gathered Sim's pass from the right boards and used a defender as a screen before surprising Kolzig with a low shot for his ninth goal.

Ovechkin had his best chance 4:40 into the third on a dash through the right circle. He snapped off a wrist shot, but Luongo made a glove save.

Nieuwendyk made it 4-0 midway through the third, and Sim completed his hat trick at 12:10, scoring on a rising wrist shot from between the circles.

Notes: Sim had his third career multigoal game. ... Washington recalled RW Jakub Klepis, C Joey Tenute and D Louis Robitaille from Hershey of the AHL. Tenute and Robitaille made their NHL debuts. ... The Capitals scratched C Jeff Halpern (groin), RW Matt Bradley (foot) and RW Chris Clark (upper body).

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