SUNRISE, Fla. – Alexander Semin scored the tiebreaking goal and Tomas Vokoun made 22 saves against his former team as the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Friday night.
Alex Ovechkin also scored as the Capitals moved two points behind the first-place Panthers in the Southeast Division.
Tomas Fleischmann scored for Florida and Jose Theodore stopped 39 shots.
Semin took a slap shot from above the right circle, and the puck deflected off the stick of Florida's Sean Bergenheim and past Theodore's glove with 6:33 to go.
The Capitals, who won for the first time in four games, tied the score on Ovechkin's power-play goal at 4:47 of the third. It was his team-leading 24th goal of the season.
Florida defenseman Mike Weaver took a stick to the face from Washington's Mike Knuble during a flurry in front and collapsed on the ice, leaving the Panthers a man short. The puck came out to Ovechkin below the left circle and he wristed it past Theodore.
Florida took a 1-0 lead on Fleischmann's goal with 40 seconds left in the first period. Stephen Weiss brought the puck out from behind the net and made a nifty pass to Fleischmann in the left circle. His slap shot got past Vokoun for his 10th point in his last 10 games. It was also the first goal Florida scored against its former goalie in three games this season.
Vokoun, who played for the Panthers the previous four seasons before signing with the Caps in the offseason, and and Theodore, who played for the Capitals from 2008-10, faced off against each other for the first time in five games this season.
Washington had a goal disallowed in the last minute of the second period when Knuble was called for goaltender interference. Brooks Laich shot from the left circle and Knuble tipped it in, but he was in the crease before the puck got there.
Linesman Andy McElman was hit by a puck along the boards in the third period. He slumped over the boards in front of the Washington bench for several minutes, then left the game. The other three officials completed the game.
NOTES: Hall of Famer Gordie Howe was in attendance at Friday's game. ... Capitals RW Knuble returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the previous three games. ... Florida C John Madden missed Friday's game with a lower body injury. ... When the sound system failed just as singer Erin Boyle was to begin the national anthem, the Florida crowd sang aloud instead, and completed the song with no musical accompaniment.