Series (Game 1 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Thursday, December 9th
Game 2: Saturday, January 8th
Game 3: Tuesday, January 11th
Game 4: Sunday, March 6th
Game 5: Wednesday, April 6th
Game 6: Saturday, April 9th

Panthers 3

(13-14-0, 26 pts)

Capitals 0

(18-9-3, 39 pts)

7:00 PM ET, December 9, 2010

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
FLA 0 1 23
WSH 0 0 00

T. Vokoun (Panthers - G): Saves: 36, Save Pct.: 1.000

M. Frolik (Panthers - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

M. Weaver (Panthers - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Panthers-Capitals Preview


The Washington Capitals haven't lost four in a row in more than a year. It's been even longer since the Florida Panthers beat them.

The Capitals look to extend their winning streak over the Panthers to seven when the Southeast Division rivals open their season series Thursday night at Verizon Center.

Washington (18-8-3) blew a three-goal, third-period lead and lost 5-4 in a shootout to Toronto on Monday, as its losing streak reached three to drop the club to 4-4-2 after an 8-0-1 stretch.

The Capitals last had a four-game slide from Oct. 6-12, 2009, and facing Florida (12-14-0) appears to be an ideal way to avoid matching that. Washington swept all six meetings with the Panthers last season, and haven't lost to them since a 7-4 road defeat on April 11, 2009.

"We don't like it," coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's official website of his team's current stretch. "And we know Florida's coming in and they want to make it four (losses) in a row. But this is where we've got to stand strong in our building and make sure it doesn't get into that snowball effect.

"We are not here just to wait until the playoffs because if you don't play good, you're not going to make the playoffs."

Washington's success against Florida last season came with Alex Ovechkin getting only one goal and one assist while being limited to two games due to injury and suspension. The two-time MVP has 18 goals and 21 assists in 32 meetings with the Panthers.

Ovechkin enters this meeting having scored in consecutive games after a nine-game drought.

Nicklas Backstrom picked up the scoring slack in Ovechkin's absence against Florida, scoring four goals and assisting on six others. The center has 23 points in his last 16 meetings with the Panthers, and is coming off a two-assist effort against the Maple Leafs.

While the Capitals are trying to halt their slide, the Panthers are looking for their first three-game winning streak since March 3-9.

Florida won again Tuesday, as Stephen Weiss ended his seven-game goalless stretch by scoring twice, including 43 seconds into overtime to clinch a 4-3 win over Colorado. His winner came from a sharp angle as he was falling to ice after getting tripped.

"It was a big goal for sure, just for the club and personally," Weiss said. "It's been a bit of a struggle, so it feels good to get it. Scored some big ones. Don't really want to say that's the biggest one of all time, but certainly to this point of the season it's a big one."

Weiss is having a rough time building on his career-high and team-leading 28 goals from last season. He's scored seven times in 2010-11 with just two coming on the road. However, Weiss has three goals and three assists in his last four visits to the nation's capital.

Florida is 3-2-0 in its last five with all the wins coming beyond regulation.