Alex Ovechkin got his first post-suspension 0.

Washington moved one point ahead of Florida for first place in the Southeast Division.

Tomas Vokoun made 42 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 48th of his career. Mathieu Perreault and Jason Chimera also scored for the Capitals, who moved to 3-3-2 in their last eight games.

The Panthers beat the Capitals at home last Wednesday, 4-2, to take the division lead but couldn't solve Vokoun in this one. Scott Clemmensen gave up four goals on 24 shots and Florida lost for the ninth time in its last 13 games (4-5-4).

Panthers coach Kevin Dineen cautioned against overreacting to the bad loss.

"This is NHL hockey. It's not saving the world," he said. "When you take a good tail-kicking, you have to recognize it and accept it and say how can we be better next game."

Perreault's goal, 13 seconds into the game, rattled through Clemmensen from the slot after a backhand pass from Jason Chimera on the low right side.

Ovechkin beat Clemmensen through the legs with a quick shot from the low left side on a power play, making it 2-0 about halfway through the first period.

"We got two quick goals on them and they had to play a different game," said Caps head coach Dale Hunter. "It ended up being the advantage for us."

Ovechkin was playing his third game since coming back from a three-game suspension for leaving his feet during a hit on a Penguins player last month. He scored for the first time since that January 22 game in Pittsburgh.

Chimera's shorthanded goal came 61 seconds into the middle period after his initial tip on a pass from John Carlson was stopped by Clemmensen. Chimera followed up and jammed the puck in with Clemmensen sprawled on the ice after his save.

Later in the second period, Ovechkin rifled a snap shot from just inside the blue line that tracked into the top left corner of the net, beating Clemmensen as he shrugged his right shoulder for the 4-0 lead.

Vokoun had 10 saves in the first period, 17 in the second and made 15 stops in the third for his second shutout in three games. He also blanked Montreal in a 3-0 win on Saturday. In between, he gave up three goals in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins on Sunday.

"It could have been a lost closer than it was," Washington forward Brooks Laich said of Tuesday's game, "but [Vokoun] was amazing."

Game Notes

Washington has won the last four Southeast titles, while the Panthers have never won a division crown and haven't qualified for the playoffs since 2000...The Capitals have won four in a row and seven of their last eight games against the Panthers in DC. They are 1-1 on a three-game homestand that ends against Winnipeg on Thursday.