Panthers nip Capitals in 10-round shootout
Sunrise, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Tomas Kopecky scored to cap the 10th round of the shootout, giving Florida a 3-2 victory over Washington on Friday.
After Jason Chimera failed to convert his chance to begin the round, Kopecky delayed a bit on a rush up the middle and beat Philipp Grubauer with a hard wrister to end the contest.
"Obviously it feels good, especially to win the game and get that extra point," Kopecky said. "We need every point right now."
Dylan Olsen and Alex Barkov tallied in regulation for the Panthers, who recorded consecutive shootout wins this week and have taken four of five overall.
Scott Clemmensen picked up the win thanks to 23 stops as Florida ended an eight-game losing streak to their former Southeast Division rivals.
Nicklas Backstrom and Joel Ward lit the lamp for the Capitals, who lost for just the second time in their last seven outings. Grubauer was the hard-luck loser with 39 saves.
Olsen gave the hosts a 1-0 edge with 2:13 gone in the second period when he slipped a shot home from a sharp angle along the left wing and then a flurry of activity near the end of the frame saw the contest tied 2-2 at intermission.
Backstrom evened the score at 16:34 with a high shot from the slot during a 4- on-4, then Barkov put the Panthers back on top 1:22 later by snaking through the offensive zone and scoring on a wrister from between the circles.
A scramble in the crease with 30 seconds to play appeared to benefit Florida as a loose puck which dropped behind Clemmensen was swept out of harm's way. The initial call on the ice was no goal, and play resumed. A replay which occurred after the next stoppage reversed the decision, and Ward was credited with the marker that slid over the goal line.
"I tried to plant myself to get ready for a shot and I saw it kind of leak through the goalie," Ward said. "There was no whistle called so I tried to follow it up and whack at it."
Neither goaltender flinched in the final 25 minutes of regulation, with Grubauer making 12 saves and Clemmensen halting 10 shots.
The Panthers hadn't topped the Capitals since a 4-2 decision at home on Feb. 1, 2012 ... Grubauer, who helped the Reading Royals of the ECHL win the Kelly Cup last season, participated in his first NHL shootout ... Florida improved to 4-4 in shootouts this season, while the Caps fell to 7-3.