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Panthers-Capitals Preview @NHLdotcom
Panthers-Capitals Preview

GAME: Florida Panthers (11-19-4) at Washington Capitals (10-18-2).

TIME: Sunday, 6 p.m. EST.

The Florida Panthers will try to end their record-setting struggles on the road when they visit the last-place Washington Capitals at the MCI Center.

The Panthers saw the longest road losing streak in franchise history stretched to 13 games Saturday with a 2-1 loss at Atlanta. Florida hasn't won on the road since a 4-3 overtime victory over Pittsburgh on Oct. 25.

The Panthers, who had a two-game winning streak snapped, remain tied with the St. Louis Blues with an NHL-low two road wins this season. They have been outscored 67-40 away from home.

Roberto Luongo stopped the first 24 shots he faced Saturday, but gave up the go-ahead goal with 14:36 to play. He finished with 29 saves, giving him an NHL-high 919 this season.

Luongo fell to 2-9-0 with a 3.59 goals-against average on the road.

"We played a good 60 minutes," the 26-year-old netminder said. "Unfortunately, they got a lucky goal and then they bounced right back and got another."

Nathan Horton continued his strong play with his team-leading 15th goal for the fourth-place Panthers, who have a four-point lead over the Capitals in the Southeast Division.

The second-year center has eight goals and an assist in nine games since missing 10 with a sprained knee. He entered Saturday with an NHL-best 26.4 goal percentage on 53 shots.

The Capitals have lost eight of their last 10 games, including a 4-1 defeat at San Jose on Friday. Ben Clymer scored and Olaf Kolzig stopped 29 shots for the Capitals, who held the Sharks scoreless on six power plays, but were outmatched defensively.

Rookie phenom Alexander Ovechkin, the top overall pick in 2004, had a four-game point streak snapped (three goals, six assists). He leads all rookies with 18 goals and 34 points.

Florida has won three in a row against Washington, including the last meeting at the MCI Center, a 1-0 victory on March 2, 2004.

The Capitals lead the all-time series 28-18-9-1, including 15-7-5-1 at home.

STANDINGS: Panthers - 26 points, 4th place, 18 PB, Southeast Division. Capitals - 22 points, 5th place, 22 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Panthers - Horton, 15 goals; Olli Jokinen, 18 assists, 31 points and 44 PIM. Capitals - Ovechkin, 18 goals and 34 points; Ovechkin and Jeff Halpern, 16 assists; Brendan Witt, 80 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Panthers - Power play: 14.9 percent (26 for 174), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.8 percent (170 for 213), 25th. Capitals - Power play: 12.2 percent (22 for 179), 29th. Penalty killing: 78.3 percent (170 for 217), 29th.

GOALTENDERS: Panthers - Luongo (11-15-4, 2 SO, 3.21 GAA); Jamie McLennan (0-4-0, 0, 3.10). Capitals - Kolzig (9-12-2, 0, 3.38); Brent Johnson (1-5-0, 0, 4.99).

SEASON SERIES: Panthers, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 1; Panthers, 3-2. At Florida, Horton scored in his first game back from injury and Luongo made 37 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Panthers - 2-13-3 on the road; Capitals - 7-7-1 at home.

Associated Press

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