The change worked in a big way Monday night.
"I felt great tonight, I got my shots and in the first period I got going," said Zednik, who scored 82 goals in just over three seasons with Montreal and was acquired by Washington over the summer.
Zednik connected with 4:06 left in the second period to break a 1-1 tie and give the Capitals the lead for good.
Gritty work along the end boards by Donald Brashear and Boyd Gordon helped free the puck to Zednik behind the Flames net. He fended off defenseman Andrew Ference and curled out in front, squeezing a shot through Miikka Kiprusoff's pads.
"You could feel it on the bench, you could see it in his body language, the relief and the exuberance that he showed," Hanlon said. "For someone who has played that many games and scored that many goals in the NHL, you could just tell that the puck was in his hands at the right time to get a chance to score."'
Hanlon said despite Zednik's recent move to the fourth line, he didn't want to impact his regular ice time and still used the 30-year-old Russian on the Capitals' No. 1 power-play unit.
"Sometimes when you are having trouble scoring, if you just go into the game not on a line that you are expecting to score on, maybe you relax a little bit," Hanlon said.
Washington (4-3-4) returns home after picking up five of eight points on their four-game trek through the Northwest Division.
Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius scored for Calgary (3-6-1). The struggling Flames are 1-4-1 in their last six games and are tied with Columbus for 13th spot in the Western Conference, just one point ahead of the last-place Phoenix Coyotes.
Zednik scored at 10:27 of the third on a breakaway to make it 3-1.
Iginla answered back on a breakaway of his own less than two minutes later but Calgary could not get the tying goal past Olaf Kolzig, who finished with 38 saves.
Zubrus completed the scoring into an empty net with 19 seconds left. Alex Ovechkin also had two assists for the Capitals.
"We're really trying to establish the fact that we have to get the identity as a hard working team," Flames coach Jim Playfair said. "We have spent a lot of time talking about our identity and we haven't done the work required to re-establish it."
The game was scoreless until Huselius put Calgary ahead at 6:50 of the second period.
However, Zubrus answered with his sixth of the season on a power play just 73 seconds later.
Kiprusoff made 27 saves, dropping to 3-6-1. He has played every minute of Calgary's games this season.
"We have to find ways to seize momentum," Calgary right winger Chuck Kobasew said. "When we get a goal, we have to roll with it and build from that. It's happened a lot this year where the other team is scoring either early in the period or at the end of a period and that leads to momentum for them. We have to find a way to get momentum on our side."
- Calgary D Dion Phaneuf returned to the lineup after missing one game because of the flu.
- Washington C Rico Fata and D Steve Eminger were both healthy scratches for the first time this season.
- The Flames were the last NHL opponent for Ovechkin to face.
- Washington's final 71 games will take place in the Eastern time zone.
- With eight goals, Washington LW Alexander Semin is only two short of matching the 10 he scored in 52 games as a rookie in the 2003-04 season. Semin played in Russia last season.