With Alex Ovechkin around, the Washington Capitals figured it couldn't be too long before their scoring problems would fade away.
For one night, at least, all it took was a little lineup juggling.
Moved back up to Ovechkin's line last night, captain Chris Clark scored his first two goals and Washington produced its biggest offensive output this season in a 5-3 victory over visiting Tampa Bay.
"We understand each other," said Ovechkin, who contributed two assists, and an empty-net goal with four seconds left. "We played like we played the last two years: He scored and I scored."
Clark's first points of the season - one goal came off a pass from Ovechkin, the other came when a rebound bounced off his body - helped the Capitals end a four-game losing streak.
"I got a couple of those goose eggs off my board," Clark said, "but to come out with a win was huge."
Washington was averaging only two goals, but had more success against Tampa Bay goalie Marc Denis, making his first start this season. The Lightning fell to 0-3 on the road for the first time since 2000.
"It's too early to say that it's a struggle," Denis said. "Last year, we were one of the best road teams in the whole league."
Washington coach Glen Hanlon shifted his forward lines, in part because he was able to use wing Alexander Semin, who came off injured reserve after missing six of seven games with an ankle injury. Hanlon also changed right wing Clark from a checking line to the top line, joining left wing Ovechkin and center Viktor Kozlov. It didn't take long for that to work out.
Just 6:33 into the game, Ovechkin corralled a poor clear attempt by Shane O'Brien and made a backhand pass to Clark, who quickly flipped a shot under the crossbar.
Clark played with Ovechkin often the previous two seasons and scored a career-high 30 goals in 2006-07.
Panthers 4, Flyers 3 - Olli Jokinen scored twice to become host Florida's career leader in goals and points. Jokinen's first goal was his 355th point with the Panthers and his second goal was his 158th. Both records belonged to Scott Mellanby.
"It's nice, but in the big picture it's a team sport," said Jokinen, who was acquired from the Islanders in June 2000. "I've been lucky enough to play with good linemates and be in position to play on specialty teams."
Gregory Campbell also had two goals, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 20 shots for the Panthers.
Hurricanes 6, Sabres 2 - Eric Staal, Jeff Hamilton, Cory Stillman, and Bret Hedican scored third-period goals to help host Carolina end a recent streak of futility against Buffalo.
It was Carolina's first victory over the Sabres since Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern Conference finals. Buffalo won all four games against the Hurricanes last season.
Rod Brind'Amour and Ray Whitney added goals for Carolina and Cam Ward made 19 saves.
Flames 5, Wild 3 - Alex Tanguay scored twice as Calgary, which trailed, 3-0, after 10 minutes, handed visiting Minnesota its first regulation loss in nine games.
On the go-ahead goal, goalie Niklas Backstrom shoveled the puck behind his net for Nick Schultz, but it bounced over the defenseman's stick. Jarome Iginla corralled the puck and zipped a pass out to Adrian Aucoin, whose slap shot was deflected in by Tanguay.
Red Wings 3, Canucks 2 - Tomas Holmstrom scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season, and Matt Ellis also had a goal for host Detroit.