The Florida Panthers
have had a bad habit of blowing leads. On Tuesday night, Dennis Wideman
made sure it didn't cost them two points.
Wideman's power-play goal 2:51 into overtime gave the Panthers a 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals in a game that saw Florida squander a three-goal lead. Wideman's wrist shot from the right circle beat Michal Neuvirth on the glove side, ending Florida's three-game losing streak.
Florida has held a lead in four of its last five defeats.
"A big lift. Obviously, we've struggled with the situation we were in tonight with the lead," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "Any kind of confidence-builder for us where we get the right result I'll take right now."
Wideman took a pass from Stephen Weiss from the point and beat Neuvirth with six seconds left on the power play.
"We were moving our feet and getting open for each other and creating passing lanes and creating shooting lanes," Wideman said. "I knew we were running out of time so I was just trying to get into a lane and get it to the net. It was just good for us to finally hold onto one."
Marcus Johansson scored twice for Washington and Mike Knuble added the other goal. Neuvirth had 37 saves as the Capitals rallied to earn a point, tying them with Tampa Bay atop the Southeast Division with 55 points. The Caps visit the Lightning Wednesday night.
Washington gave up three power-play goals and went 0 for 5 with the man advantage -- leaving coach Bruce Boudreau irate with his special teams.
"If we're going to look this lethargic on the power play, that's where we are losing games," Boudreau said. "It's not 5 on 5, it's not the penalty killing, it's the power play. I keep putting the same guys out thinking eventually it's going to turn around, but it's not. We're going to have to do something to shake the power play up."
Florida scored twice in the first period, taking a 1-0 lead at 9:52 when Mike Santorelli poked in the rebound of Weiss' shot during a 5-on-3 advantage. It was only the second power-play goal for the Panthers in their last 22 chances. The Capitals had killed off 33 of 34 power plays until the goal.
Bryan McCabe's shot hit Marty Reasoner's shot and deflected past Neuvirth at 12:14 for a 2-0 lead, and David Booth made it 3-0 at 6:48 of the second by poking in a rebound during another 5-on-3 power play.
The Caps got on goal board at 10:10 when Johansson's wrist shot from the right circle hit goalie Tomas Vokoun's glove and deflected into the net.
The Capitals made it a one-goal deficit on Knuble's goal at 13:30, his 500th career point. Alex Ovechkin passed from the left circle to Knuble, whose wrist shot got past Vokoun. Washington tied it at 7:12 of the third on Johansson's second goal. The puck came off the end boards and a shot by Matt Hendricks put it in front of the crease and between Vokoun's knees. As Vokoun tried to cover up, Johansson pushed the puck into the net to get the Caps even.
"We have to see the positive," Johannson said. "We fought back from being down 3-0. We played well the second half of the game."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report