SUNRISE, Fla. - There was no late collapse for the Florida Panthers this time.
Richard Zednik and Kamil Kreps scored to give Florida a two-goal lead, and the Panthers held on to snap a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. In their previous two games, the Panthers gave up a goal with 1:06 left in a 4-3 loss to Carolina and a goal with three seconds left in regulation of a 3-2 overtime loss at Atlanta.
"Never a doubt in my mind," Panthers coach Jacques Martin joked.
There indeed were some tense moments. Florida defenceman Bryan Allen was called for a delay of game at 16:37 of the third period, and the Capitals had five shots on goals in the last three minutes.
"We might have been a little tight," Kreps said. "It was a big game for us. We were trying not to make a mistake."
Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals, who have dropped six of seven games and 15 of 18 since starting the season 3-0. Washington dropped to 0-10-1 when trailing after two periods.
"It's kind of broken up on us the last couple of weeks," Ovechkin said. "We had our chances there at the end, but the bottom line is we lost the game."
Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun made 26 saves. He saved some of his best work for the third period, when he stopped 10 shots.
"For me personally, every game is important," he said. "For everybody's confidence, it was important to stop (the losing streak). It's disappointing when you don't, especially the way we lost the last few games."
Olie Kolzig finished with 23 stops for Washington.
Martin won his 80th game as Panthers head coach to pass Terry Murray and move into sole possession of second place on the team's victory list behind Doug MacLean (86).
Zednik, who missed the previous two games because of the flu, gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the opening period. After a shot from the point was blocked, Jozef Stumpel backhanded a pass to Zednik, who put it home into an open net.
Kreps made it 2-0 at 4:13 of the second when he scored on a partial breakaway. After intercepting Tom Poti's pass in the neutral zone, he beat Kolzig with a high backhand after a deke.
"It was just a turnover," Kreps said. "I knew I had a defenceman on my right side, so I wanted to stay on the left side and then I wanted to shoot the puck high. It's my first game-winning goal. It feels good, but the most important thing is we got the win."
Ovechkin cut the lead at 6:55 of the second when he put home a loose puck after a shot from the point was blocked.
The victory was Florida's 13th in the teams' last 17 meetings and their fourth in a row at the BankAtlantic Center.
"I don't know what it is about Florida," Capitals captain Chris Clark said. "We always seem to struggle against them. The thing is, though, we need to win these close games and we're just not getting it done."
Notes: Florida improved to 3-4-1 in November. They were 3-6-3 in November last season and 1-9-3 in 2005-06. ... Washington captain Chris Clark was back in action after missing eight games because of a severe ear laceration. ... Washington's streak of outshooting its opponents in the first period at eight games. Both teams had seven shots in the opening period. ... Panthers D Cory Murphy sat out after sustaining a bruised shoulder against Atlanta on Tuesday. ... Allen returned after missing four games because of a concussion. ... Florida C Brett McLean missed his third consecutive game because of a broken hand.