Kicking off a four-game trip critical to their playoff hopes, the Washington Capitals understood they could ill afford to lose Friday night's meeting with the Florida Panthers.

So despite a disallowed goal, part of an opening 44 minutes in which they failed to score, the Capitals showed their determination to not leave South Florida without a pair of important points. Washington fought back from a one-goal deficit to capture a 2-1 win on third-period tallies by Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.

Although they remain in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, the win pushed the Capitals (29-23-5) to 63 points, only two behind Southeast Division-leading Florida and one out of a playoff spot.

"Everybody play with fire," Ovechkin said. "I think because it's playoff hockey right now for us — you can't lose it."

The Capitals outshot Florida, 41-23, and at times controlled play, but through the first two periods it didn't seem as though they could get a break to go their way.