Final

Series (Game 3 of 8)

Florida leads 7-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 20th
Capitals2Final
Panthers3
Game 2: Thursday, December 1st
Capitals2Final
Panthers3
Game 3: Sunday, December 18th
Panthers3Final
Capitals2
Game 4: Sunday, January 8th
Panthers4Final
SO
Capitals3
Game 5: Tuesday, February 7th
Panthers5Final
Capitals0
Game 6: Saturday, March 18th
Panthers4Final
SO
Capitals3
Game 7: Wednesday, March 22nd
Capitals2Final
Panthers3
Game 8: Saturday, April 15th
Capitals2Final
SO
Panthers1

Panthers 3

(12-19-4, 28 pts)

Capitals 2

(10-19-2, 22 pts)

6:00 PM ET, December 18, 2005

Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

1 2 3 T
FLA 1 1 13
WSH 1 0 12

R. Luongo (Panthers - G): Saves: 53, Save Pct.: .964

M. Van Ryn (Panthers - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

B. Sutherby (Capitals - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Luongo's 53 saves help Panthers end road losing skid

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Roberto Luongo made sure the Washington Capitals didn't have much to show for their franchise-record 55 shots.

Luongo made a season-high 53 saves to help the Florida Panthers end a 13-game road losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Capitals on Sunday night.

"Once they got on a roll, they were firing it from every angle possible," Luongo said. "Luckily, there weren't that many bad bounces."

Nathan Horton, Jozef Stumpel and Rostislav Olesz scored for the Panthers, 3-13-3 on the road this season. The victory was Florida's first on the road since an overtime win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 25.

Luongo made his biggest save with six minutes left, stopping rookie star Alexander Ovechkin on a breakaway.

"Thank you very much, Looie," Olesz said. "He was unbelievable."

Chris Clark and Brian Sutherby scored for the Capitals, who broke the club record of 53 shots set Dec. 11, 1981, against Toronto.

"Luongo was unbelievable," Sutherby said. "When you get 55, 56 shots, you hope to win hockey games and it's frustrating. It's a game that I think we should have won. Cap off to him, he played well."

Clark opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal at 9:48 of the first period, and Horton tied it 1:16 later with a power-play goal.

Stumpel gave Florida the lead with a power-play goal with 3:08 left in the second period. Olesz made it 3-1 at 4:18 of the third period, when he deflected a high shot by Mike Van Ryn. The officials reviewed the goal but ruled Olesz's stick was not too high.

Sutherby completed the scoring with 4:56 remaining, but the Capitals got off only one more shot the rest of the game.

Florida was 2-for-4 on the power play, and Washington failed to score in six chances -- including a five-on-three advantage for 1:48 of the second period.

Olaf Kolzig made 31 saves for Washington.

Florida's Chris Gratton and Washington's Matt Bradley fought twice.

Game notes


Eric Fehr, Washington's first-round pick in 2003, made his NHL debut. He was promoted from AHL Hershey before the game and then sent back to the minor-league team after the game. The forward has 13 goals and 15 assists in 29 games this season for Hershey. ... Washington has three shorthanded goals in its last four games and seven this season. ... Horton has nine goals in his last 10 games. ... The combined 89 shots were a Florida record.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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