Caps' Tune Still the Same; Offensive Woes Continue in Loss against Panthers

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Byline: Corey Masisak, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

SUNRISE, Fla. - As Washington Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig was removing his equipment last night, he offered a warning to approaching media members.

"I don't know if you're going to want to talk to me," he said. "I'm probably just going to sound like a broken record."

That pretty much sums it up for the reeling Caps, who dropped their sixth game in seven outings. A couple of costly mistakes and another dose of a punchless offense resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers in front of an announced crowd of 12,101 at BankAtlantic Center.

"I thought we played well, but the bottom line is we lost the game and we didn't play well enough," Kolzig said.

It was another acceptable night at the defensive end. Kolzig stopped 23 of 25 shots, and the Caps only had to kill one power play against one of the league's top extra-man units. But the search for offense continues, and even the addition of captain Chris Clark to the lineup after he missed eight games did not help.

The Caps had four chances on the power play but came away empty. The final one came after Florida's Bryan Allen was whistled for a delay of game after falling on the puck along the boards with 3:23 left. It came as a result of a pressure-packed shift from the Caps' second line, but the extra-man unit failed to score. Pulling Kolzig for the final 100 seconds or so for an extra attacker didn't help either.

"We're not going to win many games scoring one goal," Caps coach Glen Hanlon said. "We had our chances to score, and we had the puck in the right spots with the game on the line, and we're just struggling a bit."

Two days before this game, Caps defenseman Tom Poti sat in his stall after practice and said it seems there has been one big mistake in nearly every game, and it has ended up in the back of his team's net. He proved to be prophetic.

Kamil Kreps made it 2-0 on a breakaway early in the second period. Kreps intercepted a cross-ice pass from Poti in the neutral zone and put a backhanded flip past Kolzig for his second goal of the season.

"I made a bad play," Poti said. "I tried to get it by the guy through the middle, and he picked it off and went in and scored. I made a mistake."

Former Caps forward Richard Zednik put the Panthers in front 1-0 with his seventh goal of the season 7:58 into the first period. …