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NHL Game Summary - Washington at Florida



(Friday, January 23rd)

Final Score: Florida 4, Washington 1

Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Donald Audette scored two power play goals for the Panthers, as the Washington Capitals' post-Jaromir Jagr era began with a whimper, losing 4-1 to Florida at the Office Depot Center.

Byron Ritchie and Juraj Kolnik also scored goals for the Panthers, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Audette recorded his 500th career NHL point on his second goal, and Roberto Luongo made 28 saves in the victory.

"I really wasn't thinking about it," Audette said. "It wasn't on my mind, but it is nice to finally have it over with."

Joel Kwiatkowski scored the lone goal for the Capitals, who now have a five- game road losing streak. Washington had a four-game unbeaten streak in Sunrise coming into the contest (2-0-2).

A beleaguered Olaf Kolzig faced 18:58 of Florida power play time and 39 shots in the game, including 21 in the second period. He made 35 saves.

Prior to the contest, the Capitals finally traded superstar Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers. The deal for the five-time scoring champion reportedly had been in the works since last June's NHL Entry Draft. The trade sends Jagr to New York in exchange for forward Anson Carter, who began his NHL career with Washington in 1996.

"It's never a nice situation when someone gets traded," Washington center Robert Lang said. "We're losing a friend and a great player. It's tough on everybody."

Audette got the Panthers on the board first 5:42 into the game on a bad-angle shot. He collected the puck in the corner on the power play, paused, and put the disc on net. It appeared to deflect off a body in front, but Audette got the credit when the puck snuck past Kolzig.

The Panthers went up two goals just 1:07 into the second stanza, when Ritchie took a pass from Eric Beaudoin streaking down the left side into the offensive zone, and blasted a shot past Kolzig from the top of the faceoff circle.

Florida added to its lead at the 11:12 mark, when Lukas Krajicek fluttered a shot on net with major traffic in front. Stephen Weiss swept in, gathered the rebound and dropped it in the slot for Kolnik. Kolnik ripped a shot past a helpless Kolzig to make it 3-0.

"This was a game that you could sense we wouldn't let slip away," Florida head coach Rick Dudley said. "They took a lot of penalties, and you worry that maybe we'll get five or six straight against us, but that wasn't the case."

Washington tried to get back into the contest, as Kwiatkowski pulled the Capitals within two goals 2:40 into the third. Dainius Zubrus centered to Kwiatkowski from behind the net into the high slot, and Kwiatkowski used a wrister to beat a screened Luongo to the glove side.

But Audette iced things with his 500th career point, scoring on a 5-on-3 power play nearly three minutes later. Kolzig made a save on a Pavel Trnka slapshot, but Viktor Kozlov was checked into the netminder. The puck came loose to Audette camped out alone on the right doorstep, and he wristed it into the open net.

Game Notes

The Capitals are 0-4-1-1 in their last six away tilts...The Panthers 11 power play opportunities tied a club record, set on two other occasions...Florida's 21 shots in the second period is a season high...Washington forward Peter Bondra left the game with the flu...Florida winger Marcus Nilson and center Olli Jokinen had three-game point streaks snapped...Washington's Robert Lang extended his points streak to seven games with an assist on Kwiatkowski's goal.

01/24 00:03:46 ET

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