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Samuelsson scores 2 goals as Panthers top Caps 4-2

Mikael Samuelsson had two goals and the Florida Panthers beat the Washington Capitals 4-2 on Wednesday night.

Stephen Weiss and Shawn Matthias also scored for Florida, and Scott Clemmensen stopped 26 shots. Tomas Fleischmann had a pair of assists for the Panthers, who moved into first place in the Southeast Division — one point ahead of Washington.

Brooks Laich and John Carlson scored for the Capitals, and Michal Neuvirth had 35 saves.

Samuelsson's second goal came during a power play and gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead. Samuelsson got the puck in the high slot and wristed it past Neuvirth at 4:57 of the third for his first multi-goal game since Feb. 12, 2011, at Vancouver.

Weiss scored at 9:52 of the third to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead. Weiss pushed the puck toward the net with his stick but Neuvirth blocked the shot. The puck went up in the air, then bounced off Weiss's upper body and crossed the goal line just before Weiss fell into the net. The goal was initially disallowed, then awarded after a lengthy review.

Carlson's goal came with 2:11 to go on a shot from the high slot that got past Clemmensen on the glove side to pull Washington to 3-2.

Matthias sealed it on an empty-netter with 52 seconds remaining.

The Capitals tied it at 1 in the second. Laich brought the puck out from behind the net to the left circle. His wrist shot went over Clemmensen's left shoulder and into the net with 9:45 left in the period.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead just 33 seconds into the second. Samuelsson took a wrist shot from outside the blue line that hit the right post and caromed into the net.

Notes Washington LW Alex Ovechkin served the last of a three-game suspension. Ovechkin is eligible to return Saturday at Montreal. ... Washington D Jeff Schultz played after being a healthy scratch the past 12 games and in 20 of the past 22. ... Florida RW Kris Versteeg missed the game with flu-like symptoms. ... Florida LW Marco Sturm returned to the lineup after missing 14 games with an upper-body injury. ... Florida called up G Brian Foster from San Antonio of the AHL to back up Clemmensen while Jose Theodore rests his knee, injured on Dec. 31 at Montreal. ... Florida RW Scottie Upshall is having sports hernia surgery and will miss at least a month.