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Florida outshot Washington 16-6 in the first 20 minutes, but the period ended tied 1-1.

“I thought we deserved to be up a couple after the first period the way we played and instead it’s 1-1, so you don’t get rewarded for that,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. “We stuck with it, though, and we hung around and found a way. I thought we deserved a better fate for how hard we worked.”

The Panthers opened the scoring with 4:57 left when Thomas converted a 2-on-1 after getting a feed from Michal Repik. Backstrom tied it with 2:44 to go, one-timing Alexander Ovechkin’s pass from the corner.

The assist extended Ovechkin’s points streak to four games.

“We were kind of off and on there tonight,” said forward Mike Knuble, who also assisted on Backstrom’s goal, “but we did enough to win and at the end got a good result and try to carry it over into tomorrow night.”

NOTES: The game started a seven-game homestand for Florida. … Washington D Mike Green missed his fourth consecutive game because of a head injury. … Washington improved to 23-0-2 when leading after two periods. … Florida D Alexander Sulzer missed the game because of an upper-body injury sustained Saturday night in Atlanta. To take his place in the lineup, the Panthers recalled D Clay Wilson from Rochester of the AHL.