NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 21st (All times eastern)
Florida Panthers (21-25-12-3) at Washington Capitals (19-32-7-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Florida Panthers, trying to grasp on to slim playoff hopes, resume their road trip in Washington tonight when they visit the Capitals at the MCI Center.
With 57 points, the Panthers are 10th in the Eastern Conference -- nine out of the final playoff slot.
On Friday, Roberto Luongo made 34 saves and earned the 20th shutout of his career to lead the Panthers to a 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh at Mellon Arena. Kristian Huselius and Juraj Kolnik scored both Florida goals, as the Panthers won their ninth straight over the woeful Penguins.
Luongo was peppered during all three periods, as the Pens fired 11 shots on him in each of the first two periods and 12 in the final 20 minutes. The All- Star has stopped 75-of-76 shots over the past two games.
Florida, 2-5-1 in its last eight road games, will conclude its trek Monday in Boston.
Washington, meanwhile, has long been out of playoff contention, but carries a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) into tonight. On Thursday, Olaf Kolzig made 43 saves and Matt Pettinger snapped a late second-period tie with a breakaway goal, lifting the Capitals to a 3-1 home victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Mike Grier and Robert Lang also scored for Washington, while Sergei Gonchar picked up a pair of assists. The Capitals played their first game after dealing cornerstone Peter Bondra to Ottawa on Wednesday.
Lang has a 10-game point streak intact, contributing four goals and seven assists in that span. He leads the NHL with 69 points entering the day's action -- one ahead of Vancouver's Markus Naslund, who is sidelined with a concussion, and two up on Tampa's Martin St. Louis and Colorado's Alex Tanguay.
The Caps, who are a horrid 2-10-0-2 on Saturdays this season, will host the Lightning on Monday.
Florida is 2-0-1 against Washington this season, but the Capitals hold a 6-2-2 edge in the last 10 meetings overall.
02/21 10:17:00 ET