Nicklas Backstrom had trouble making the decision to return to the lineup after missing 40 games with a concussion.
The Capitals survived a near disaster at the Verizon Center but earned two points and sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
If everything breaks right for them Thursday night's game between the Capitals and Panthers could be huge for both teams.
The Capitals are not interested in stirring up trouble with Rene Bourque in Nicklas Backstrom's first game back.
Capitals star center Nicklas Backstrom says he's excited to play in his first game since suffering a concussion on Jan. 3.