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Panthers top Capitals in NHL-record shootout

by Alain Poupart

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers got a rare victory against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, and they did it in record-setting fashion.

Nick Bjugstad scored in the 20th round of the shootout to lift the Panthers to a 2-1 win at BB&T?Center in the longest shootout in NHL?history.

The previous longest shootout was 15 rounds Nov. 26, 2005, when the New York Rangers defeated Washington.

"That was exciting,"???Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "Everybody loved that, especially with the way it ended, winning a game like that with Bjugstad's goal. Everybody got a chance to shoot, and a big two points, so we're real happy."

Bjugstad scored in the bottom of the 20th round, in his second attempt of the shootout, after Roberto Luongo had stopped Alex Ovechkin in the first half of the round.

Florida won the shootout 6-5. Each of the Panthers' first five goals kept them alive in the game. In addition to being the longest, it also was the highest-scoring shootout in NHL???history.

"I've never seen anything like that,"???Luongo said. "The great thing is I don't know how many times guys bailed me out where they had to score to keep it alive and they did every time. It was amazing. It's not the way we draw it up, to go 20 rounds here, but obviously it's a big win."

With the length of the shootout, every skater in the game had an attempt, and two players on each team went twice. It took 17:43 to complete the tiebreaker.

Jussi Jokinen, Dave Bolland, Derek MacKenzie, Sean Bergenheim and defenseman Dylan Olsen all scored in the shootout for the Panthers after the Capitals had scored in the fourth, seventh, 10th, 11th and 17th rounds on goals by Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, John Carlson and Brooks Orpik.

Olsen's goal came on his first career shootout attempt when the Panthers had to go with either him or fellow defenseman Willie Mitchell.

"First-ever shootout,"???Olsen said. "Little nervous, to be honest, especially when it came down to that and we needed a goal. I???really have only one or two moves, so I???had to stick with that one. And sure enough it worked.

"You start looking at the numbers and it came down to me and [Mitchell]. One of us is going to go, one of us has to score. I'm glad I???got the call and I'm glad I???could put it in the back of the net."

Bjugstad ended the game when he froze Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with a quick fake, moved the puck to his forehand and fired high into an open net. The goal touched off a celebration usually reserved for the playoffs.

On his first shootout attempt, in the second round, Bjugstad hit the post with a wrist shot.

"The pressure wasn't really on me, which was nice, because I didn't have to score,"???Bjustad said about his game-winner. "I???don't know, I???kind of relaxed, took a deep breath and tried going in there with confidence and it worked out."

Florida is 3-4 in shootouts; Washington is 1-3.

The Capitals' only shootout victory came against the Panthers at Verizon Center on Oct. 18, also a 2-1 final.

Florida's previous longest shootout came Nov. 28, 2007, an 11-round affair that produced a 2-1 victory. Last season the Panthers beat the Capitals in a 10-round shootout when Tomas Kopecky scored the game-winner in another 2-1 victory.

Neither of those compared to what happened Tuesday.

"At first you're (thinking), 'Just get the shootout victory,' but once it got to 15, 16, 17, actually it was quite fun,"?????????Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "You just sort of live in the moment and hope that you got the two points. Unfortunately we didn't.

"We had it a few times and they were able to bounce right back. I think we made some history tonight, and the chances of that happening again are one in a million. I thought both teams didn't give up much, both teams probably deserved to get two points. Unfortunately, that's not the case with our rules. We would have loved to have the second point; we could claim it as much as them. It was a very tight game."

MacKenzie scored in the first period for the Panthers, who beat Washington for the second time in 12 games.

The Panthers (13-8-8)?????????are 6-2-2 in their past 10 games.

Luongo made 23 saves in regulation and overtime.

Troy Brouwer scored for the Capitals, who had their three-game road winning streak snapped. Washington (14-10-6) is 4-0-2 in its past six games, its longest streak of the season without a regulation loss.

Holtby, making his 12th start in 13 games, made 28 saves. He came in with a 6-0-0 record against Florida with one shutout, a 2.69 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

Holtby helped keep the game tied 1-1 in the third period, when the Capitals were outshot 11-3, but it was the shootout goals he remembered most after the game.

"It definitely wasn't fun to be a part of it, being on the end that I had to make a save numerous times when the game was on the line and I didn't,"?????????Holtby said. "That's not a fun spot to be in. I thought we showed a lot of character, keep battling. That's a spot where I'd like to make a save and reward those guys."

Florida played its 21st one-goal game, moving to 11-2-8 in those.

Forwards Aleksander Barkov and Scottie Upshall returned to the Panthers lineup after missing six and nine games, respectively.

Each team had good scoring chances in the third period before Laich appeared to give Washington a 2-1 lead with 3:08 left. But after an on-ice ruling of a goal, the goal was disallowed after video review when it was ruled he had directed it in with a distinct kicking motion.

When MacKenzie opened the scoring at 9:36 of the first period off a Washington turnover, it marked the first time in six games the Capitals faced a deficit in regulation.

Defenseman Mike Green's backhand behind the net went off the skate of Upshall and right to the slot, where MacKenzie one-timed it past Holtby.

Brouwer tied it at 14:35 of the second period when the top-ranked power play in the NHL?????????delivered. After taking a feed from Ovechkin in the slot, Brouwer had his shot blocked by Mitchell, but he put the loose puck past Luongo.

Upshall had a breakaway later in the second period, but was turned away by Holtby when he tried a deke to the forehand.

In the end, though, this game was all about the shootout.

"I had my helmet flipped backward and I had to flip it back in case I had to go again,"?????????said Capitals forward Eric Fehr, who started the shootout with an unsuccessful attempt against Luongo. "That was crazy to see that, and the way they kept responding. We had the lead and they kept scoring, just kept going. It was fun to watch but we'd like to be on the right side of that.

"You want to be on the winning side of history, that's kind of tough. We got a point tonight, which is a positive."

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