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Ryan Lomberg scores late winner, Panthers defeat Capitals 4-2

Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) is congratulated for a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) is congratulated for a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
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By COLBY GUY (Associated Press)

SUNRISE — Ryan Lomberg scored the game-winning goal with 6:52 to go, Matthew Tkachuk had three points and the Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Thursday night.

“He’s great. He’s awesome,” Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky said of Lomberg. “He is the soul of the locker room and it’s great to see him score a big goal.”

The goal was Lomberg’s third of the season and his first since Nov. 14, snapping a 35-game drought with a quick shot from the slot off of a feed from Dmitry Kulikov. It gave the Panthers their fifth win in six games and their first since entering the All-Star break.

“I think the most important thing for us is that we’re winning hockey games,” Lomberg said. “So if we’re not scoring and we’re not winning, it’s time to look in the mirror. But we’ve been doing a good job of winning games, so that’s the important thing. And it’s obviously good to contribute.”

Tkachuk, Sam Reinhart and Eetu Luostarinen also scored for the Panthers. Bobrovsky stopped 21 shots, and Florida coach Paul Maurice got the 849th win of his regular-season career — tying Ken Hitchcock for fifth-most in NHL history.

Alex Ovechkin got the 833rd goal of his career and Anthony Mantha also scored for Washington. Darcy Kuemper made 37 saves.

Ovechkin has goals in three straight games since ending an eight-game drought on Jan. 27.

“I liked our first period a lot, and you tip your cap to one of the elite teams in the NHL,” Capitals coach Spencer Carbury said. “The first period, I liked from a competitiveness standpoint, from a work ethic standpoint, our battle level, puck decisions. Each play we had the puck, it was in the spot it needed to be. The problem is that you have to be able to sustain that. It’s difficult for us to maintain that pace.”

Tkachuk’s goal snapped a drought spanning 152:02 of regulation time without an even-strength goal for the Panthers. Jonah Gadjovich scored their previous goal at 5-on-5 on Jan. 27 — 2:27 into their 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Evan Rodrigues appeared to score a goal 6:57 into the second period that would have put Florida up 2-1, but it was taken off the board after an offside challenge. Panthers defenseman Brandon Montour attempted to keep a bouncing puck in the offensive zone with his skate but it just crossed the blue line, negating the goal.

Washington took the lead later in the period before Reinhart tied it back up with his league-leading 21st power-play goal. He has eight more than the player with the next most, Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichushkin.

Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov extended his goal drought to 18 games, last scoring on Dec. 16 against the Edmonton Oilers.

UP NEXT

Capitals: Visit Boston on Saturday afternoon.

Panthers: Host Colorado on Saturday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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