Ovechkin, Capitals hold off Panthers

Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - The game wasn't decided in the 20th round of a shootout, but it was still full of theatrics.

Alex Ovechkin tallied a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals avenged their marathon shootout loss to the Florida Panthers last month with a 4-3 victory on Sunday.

Brooks Laich, Karl Alzner and Andre Burakovsky also scored for the Capitals, who continued their hot play after a dramatic 3-2 win over Chicago in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

Braden Holtby stopped 29-of-32 shots in his 15th consecutive start.

Nick Bjugstad, who provided the winner in the NHL-record shootout on Dec. 16, made it a one-goal game with 1:59 to play, but Florida was unable to tie it.

Dylan Olsen and Vincent Trocheck also scored for the Panthers, who have dropped three of their last four games.

"We weren't good enough, but we battled back and found a way to come closer at the end," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We can't wait until the end of the game to get involved physically."

Roberto Luongo gave up three goals on 21 shots over the first 40 minutes, but was replaced by Al Montoya, who turned aside 4-of-5 shots fired his way during the final stanza. Luongo took a hit from Ovechkin in the first period and gutted out the second before the injury caused him to exit the game for precautionary reasons.

Trailing 2-1, Laich's rising slap shot from the far edge of the left circle tied the game at 12:13 of the second and the Capitals reclaimed the lead after Alzner's blast from the high slot went past a screened Luongo with 54 seconds remaining in the stanza.

Ovechkin sent the puck across the top of the crease to Burakovsky, who tapped it in for a 4-2 lead 5:42 into the final period.

The Panthers received 47 seconds of 5-on-3 power-play time with under nine minutes remaining, but a strong Capitals penalty kill kept Florida at bay.

After Montoya went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker with over two minutes to play, Bjugstad wristed a shot from a severe angle down low off the pipe and past Holtby for a one-goal game moments later.

Florida threatened with a vacant net once again, but was unable to pull even.

After a scoreless 20 minutes, Ovechkin gave Washington the lead with a power- play goal 1:16 into the middle stanza. Marcus Johansson found Nicklas Backstrom below the goal line and Ovechkin moved in from the left circle behind the play to wrist Backstrom's feed past an unsuspecting Luongo.

The Panthers responded with two goals in a span of 1:25.

Three Washington players collided in the offensive zone and the Panthers embarked on a 3-on-0 down the ice. Holtby stopped Trocheck in tight, but Willie Mitchell sent the rebound on net and Trocheck was there to slip it in for a tied game at 3:57 of the second.

Florida then took advantage of Washington's poor defensive zone coverage as Olsen's wrister from the left circle deflected in off the glove of Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik at 5:22.

Game Notes

The Capitals improved to 19-1-2 when scoring first ... Washington improved to 11-0-2 over its last 13 games against Florida ... The Panthers are now 0-8-2 in their last 10 road games against the Capitals, dating back to Jan. 8, 2011 ... Aaron Ekblad set Florida's franchise record for points by a rookie defenseman (22) with an assist on Bjugstad's goal.