"We weathered the storm, but that's what the goaltender's job is," Kolzig said. "They throw everything at the net. It felt like 45 shots because I was on my knees and recovering a lot."
"You just try to take advantage when you get the chance to score goals," said Ovechkin, who lead the Capitals with 12 goals.
Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers, who have lost four in a row.
"We had 45 shots and a lot of chances but the puck just didn't go in tonight," Florida's Olli Jokinen said. "It's frustrating."
Zubrus' first goal came during a five-on-three power play in the third period. His wrist shot from the right circle got past goaltender Alex Auld on the glove side at 14:15 for a 3-1 lead.
"We were fortunate to get an opportunity with the five-on-three," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "That ended up resulting in a win for us."
Zubrus added an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left.
"It was one of those nights," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "Their goalie was good and he made several good saves. Lucky or not, he made the save."
Florida tied it at 1 on Horton's power-play goal at 5:05 of the second. Jay Bouwmeester made a cross-ice pass to Horton, whose wrist shot from the right circle beat Kolzig.
The Capitals regained the lead about 90 seconds later on Ovechkin's goal. His shot from just outside the crease was blocked by Auld, but Ovechkin poked in the rebound.
Washington took a 1-0 lead at 18:03 of the first period. Pettinger took a shot from in front and his momentum pushed him into Auld. Pettinger's skate hit the puck and helped it into the net, and a video review confirmed the goal.
It was the fourth win in five games for the Capitals. Florida has lost 11 of its last 14.
The Capitals held an opponent to less than two goals for the second time this season. ... Florida's Stephen Weiss missed the game with a sore knee.