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Panthers 4, Capitals 0

December 19, 1997

WASHINGTON (AP) _ John Vanbiesbrouck made 26 saves as the Florida Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night.

The Panthers had given up 14 goals in their last three games, losses to Boston, the New York Islanders, and New York Rangers, but Vanbiesbrouck played one of his best games of the season.

The Capitals now are winless in their last six games, having gone 0-3-3 since scoring a 3-2 overtime victory over the Panthers in the MCI Center’s inaugural game Dec. 5.

Florida broke the game open by scoring three goals in a stretch of 6:05 during the third period.

Ed Jovanovski broke a scoreless tie 5:42 into the second period, putting in the rebound of a shot Scott Mellanby.

Radek Dvorak made it 2-0, taking a Muller pass and scoring at 2:56 of the third. Steve Washburn then put in Mellanby’s pass 5:01 into the period before Kirk Muller added the final goal at 9:01.

Mellanby, Ray Sheppard and Dave Gagner each had two assists.

The Capitals looked sluggish on offense. Washington had 11 shots in the first period but only 15 in the final two combined.

Even the Washington power play, ranked third in the NHL entering the game, could generate little spark. The Capitals finished 0 for 6 overall.

Washington had the extra man for the final 3:34 of the second period, including a two-man advantage for 21 seconds but could get off only two shots.

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