Caps aim to sweep home-and-home set against Panthers

The Washington Capitals look to string together consecutive wins for the first time this season as they conclude a home-and-home series with the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The Capitals snapped a three-game slide by picking up a convincing 5-0 home win over the Panthers on Saturday. It was just Washington's third victory in 12 contests and marked the first time it scored more than three goals in a game this season.

Troy Brouwer led the way with two goals, while Braden Holtby made 27 saves in his fourth career shutout. The netminder also picked up his second career assist.

"The traffic in front of the net was nonexistent today because our defense and our forwards really took it to heart this last little while that we need to bear down in our end," Holtby said. "It was outstanding tonight and we're going to need that to keep moving forward."

Joel Ward and Mathieu Perreault each registered a goal and an assist, while Alex Ovechkin also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who had a players-only meeting on Friday in response to their slow start.

So what was more important, the shutout or five goals?

"Kind of both," said Caps head coach Adam Oates. "Great for Braden. He made the big save early for us, what we needed on the 2-on-1, and after that we didn't give them much and we scored some more. Obviously a lot of positives."

Washington picked up its fourth straight victory over Florida overall and its sixth in a row at home. The Capitals, though, have lost three of their past four in Sunrise.

The Panthers hope that works to their advantage on Tuesday after splitting a four-game swing that not only included a trip to Winnipeg but saw Florida play back-to-back games past regulation before Saturday's loss.

"You don't like to end it like that, that's the problem because you end it on a sour note. We got outworked tonight," Florida coach Kevin Dineen admitted.

"We're not pointing at one thing. Everybody didn't have enough to give tonight for us to be successful."

Florida goaltender Jose Theodore was pulled midway through the third period on Saturday after giving up all five goals on just 21 shots. Scott Clemmensen relieved Theodore and turned away all four shots he faced.

The Panthers open a four-game homestand on Tuesday.