SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) _ Donald Audette and the Florida Panthers took full
advantage of the distracted Washington Capitals.
Audette scored two power-play goals to reach 500th career points, and
Florida beat Washington 4-1 on Friday night just hours after the Capitals
traded star Jaromir Jagr to the Rangers.
``I really wasn't thinking about it,'' Audette said. ``It wasn't on my mind,
but it is nice to finally have it over with.''
The Capitals and Rangers completed the deal before the game, with Jagr going
to New York in exchange for Anson Carter.
``It's never a nice situation when someone gets traded,'' Washington center
Robert Lang said. ``We're losing a friend and a great player. It's tough on
The Panthers snapped a two-game losing skid, both at home, and won for only
the second time in their last six, while Washington has dropped two straight
overall and five in a row on the road.
Audette, signed as an unrestricted free agent on Jan. 16, scored his first
two goals for the Panthers. He has 256 goals and 244 assists in his 15-year
career with Buffalo, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Montreal and Florida.
Juraj Kolnik also scored on a power play, and Byron Ritchie added a goal for
Roberto Luongo, selected to the All-Star game Thursday, had 28 saves for the
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead on Audette's power-play goal at 5:42 of the
first period. Audette, working from the left corner, rifled a shot past goalie
``You throw it to the net and a lot of things can happen,'' he said. ``I was
just trying to make a pass close to the net and it went in. My job is to
contribute. I'm on the first line, and they're giving me ice time.''
The Panthers made it 2-0 a minute into the second period on Byron Ritchie's
goal. Ritchie scored on a blast from just above the left circle, burying the
puck just under the crossbar.
Kolnik pushed the lead to three goals on a power play midway through the
second, and Washington got on the board with Joel Kwiatkowski's power-play goal
early in the third period. Audette completed the scoring about six minutes into
``This was a game that you could sense we wouldn't let slip away,'' Florida
coach Rick Dudley said. ``They took a lot of penalties, and you worry that
maybe we'll get five or six straight against us, but that wasn't the case.''