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Panthers Wrap-Up: Panthers 4, Capitals 2

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers
1 2 3 OT T
Panthers 0 1 3 0 4
Capitals 0 1 1 0 2
FLA - M. Samuelsson (4), PPG - M. Samuelsson (5), S. Weiss (13), S. Matthias (9)

WAS - B. Laich (10), J. Carlson (6)
SUNRISE, Fla (AP) - 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.

"Honestly, I didn't even know that until now. I didn't know they called it off. I just heard them say they were going to look at it so I figured they didn't know what happened but I didn't know they waved it off...That's a big win...There's something about this building. I don't know. We have to make it exciting at the end but two points is two points so it doesn't matter."

- Panthers forward Stephen Weiss who's game-winner went to review after first being waved off
1. Battle Of The 30s: With Jose Theodore nursing an injury, it was Scott Clemmensen getting his third consecutive start for the Panthers. Across the ice, it was backup Michal Neuvirth getting the nod as the Capitals were coming off a game in which they fell in overtime in Tampa Bay. Both goalies were tested early as the Panthers and Capitals threw 26 shots (15 for the Panthers) on net in the opening 20 minutes. Despite the shot total, the game still stood scoreless. Neuvirth was the busier of the two as he ended up seeing 38 shots in the game, as nine came in the second in the second and 14 more came in the third. His best save of the night came with Tomas Fleischmann looking to make it a three-goal Panthers lead in the third period. Neuvirth flashed his glove while going to the butterfly to deny the former Capital. Clemmensen, while not as busy, still saw 28 pucks on the night (seven in the second and 10 more in the third). The Panthers netminder did come up big on several occasions, including on Troy Brouwer with a little over three minutes left in the second on a partial breakaway and the game knotted at one.

2. The Accuracy Of Sami: Acquired from Vancouver in October along with Marco Sturm for David Booth and Steve Reinprecht, Mikael Samuelsson got off to a slow start (injury). After missing time with another injury, Samuelsson has shown the great vision and skill that he has had over his NHL career. Looked to bring in veteran leadership, Samuelsson showed his smarts early in the second and third periods as the crafty veteran scored the first two Panthers goals. In the second period, his tally came just 33 seconds into the frame. There he took the puck from Tyson Strachan and rushed up the ice. Getting just past center ice, Samuelsson fired a shot on net. The move surprised Neuvirth and the forward scored far side for his fourth of the year from 88-feet out. Tied at one in the third period thanks to a Brooks Laich backhand 11:15 into the second, Samuelsson struck again and this time it came on the power play. With Dineen using Samuelsson on the point in a four-forward system, Samuelsson sent a snap shot on goal. The puck fired from 51 feet out beat Neuvirth for a 2-1 lead 4:57 into the third. Just put the puck on net and use some accuracy and good things happen.

3. On Second Review, It's A Win: About midway through the third (10:08 left on the clock to be exact), Stephen Weiss thought he had scored a goal and the Panthers had thought he scored a goal to give them a 3-1 lead. The Panthers forward crashed the net as Tomas Kopecky put the puck on Neuvirth. The rebound hit the Caps goalie and then he tried to swat the puck away from danger. Instead it caromed in off of the crashing Weiss. The referee however adamantly signaled no goal as he waived it off. After a lenghty review in Toronto, the war room overturned the referee's original call in calling it a good goal. The result gave the Panthers an all important two-goal lead. They would need that as the Caps would get to within one with 2:21 left to play when defenseman John Carlson stole the puck and fired a shot from just inside the blueline that beat Clemmensen. Up by just a goal now, Shawn Matthias would salt away the victory with an empty net goal with 53 seconds remaining for a 4-2 final. The win vaulted the Panthers back in front of the Capitals for first place in the Southeast, one point up on their division rivals (57 to 56). Florida also has a game in hand.
Memorable twitter posts from the game.

@JessilynMorales: Not going to lie, I walked out with the biggest smile on my face thanks to my #FlaPanthers :) #FirstPlaceCats

@kk_amir: Great job Panthers. Back on top! #FlaPanthers #Redvolution

@louisonofrio: This #FlaPanthers #playoffspush is going to be fun to watch, thank god I have center ice to watch the games on tv from CT.

@PantherSpoon: Just what the Doctor ordered, #FlaPanthers win! Great victory over the #Caps. 1st in Southeast! #weseered #weseerats

@HockeyBroad: Nice win by the #FlaPanthers in a good game against the #Caps. Back atop the SE division! #theruntotheplayoffsintheECwillbenuts

Memorable fan posts from the game.

James Martin: Was at the game tonight. Great effort by the guys! Proud to be a panther fan!

Jeff Main: Good job Clemmensen, good job Sammy, great job Florida Panthers!

Gabriel Nagy: Grrreat effort by our Panthers and a big win over the Caps!!! What a feeling:Panthers are back on top...Thank You guys! LET´S GO PANTHERS!!!

Joe Fiore: Clemmensen rocked tonight.

Dan Glassford: What a good game. Good passing! Shooting! Defense! Great game


1. It was a couple of firsts for the Panthers against the Capitals. Picking up the assist on Mikael Samuelsson's second period goal (see below), both Tyson Strachan and Sean Bergenheim notched their first assists of their Panthers careers. For Strachan, the feat was accomplished in his second game as a Cat while in Bergenheim picked up the assist in his 29th game.

Down a goal and skating four-on-four, Brooks Laich tied the game at one 11:15 into the second period. The goal came just four seconds before the Panthers were to go on the power play as Keaton Ellerby was set to return to the ice.

5. The Panthers saved their offense for the third period as they exploded for three goals against the Capitals. That matched a season high for goals in a period as it was the fifth time in recording that feat. It was the second time that the Cats did so in the third period (last time came on October 17 at Tampa Bay in a 7-4 victory).

42. Recording the second goal of the game for the Panthers and his second of the night, Mikael Samuelsson recorded his first multi-goal game with the Cats. It was his first multi-goal game since February 12, 2011 when he recorded two against Calgary, some 42 games ago.

With no score on the boards, the Panthers got scored the first goal of the game on a shot from way down town. Heading up on the rush, Samuelsson fired a shot just inside the red line that beat Michal Neuvirth for his fourth of the season 33 seconds into the second period. The shot was officially called from 88 feet out.

Mikael Samuelsson
Got the Panthers going with some goals from down town (88 feet and 51 feet) and seemed to be all over the place against the Caps.

2 Goals, 4 Shots, 2 Hits, 16:36 TOI
Florida will have a day off before playing in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday. Before heading to Tampa, Florida hosts Winnipeg in another Southeast Division matchup. The Panthers have taken victories in two of the first three meetings this season against the Jets and fell in the shootout in their other loss in Sunrise. Florida's victories have come at the MTS Centre with their last victory coming in the form of a 4-3 shootout victory on January 21st as Kris Versteeg scored twice in regulation and Mikael Samuelsson netted the game-winner in the seventh round of the shootout. Winnipeg, who plays Thursday night in Tampa Bay is led offensively by Blake Wheeler (33 points in 49 games), Evander Kane (injured but 31 points in 46 games) and Kyle Wellwood (30 points in 51 games). Ondrej Pavelec has received the majority of the starts in net, going 17-17-6 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.78 goals against average.

Author: Glenn Odebralski |

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