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Weiss, Panthers hold off Capitals

Dec 6, 2011 - 4:52 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Stephen Weiss had two goals and an assist, while Dmitry Kulikov added a goal and two assists as the Florida Panthers held off a late charge by the Washington Capitals to eke out a 5-4 victory.

Mike Santorelli and Sean Bergenheim also lit the lamp for the Panthers, who won for the third time in four games.

Scott Clemmensen got the start in place of a flu-ridden Jose Theodore and made 28 saves in the win.

"I don't know about a statement game but it was an important game for us coming off that trip," said Weiss, whose team was coming off a 2-2 road trip. "We wanted to have a good game. It doesn't matter who you're playing."

Mike Knuble, Cody Eakin, Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera tallied goals for the Capitals as the club dropped its fourth game in five tries.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 25-of-30 shots to take the loss.

Trailing 5-2 entering the third period, Washington notched two late goals to put a game in doubt that was all Florida through the first two periods.

The first came from Laich when he received a pass in the slot and laid the puck through the legs of Clemmensen at the 12:09 mark of the final stanza.

Then with 1:44 left in regulation, John Carlson's wrister from the left point was deflected by Chimera into the short side to make it a one-goal game, but Clemmensen stood tall as the Capitals pressed with an extra attacker in the final minute to hold on for the win.

Florida struck twice within 13 seconds in the first period to take control.

The first goal came at the 6:50 mark of the opening frame on a power-play when Weiss sent a shot towards the net from the right circle that deflected off a Capitals defenseman in front and went past Neuvirth.

The second was on a shot from almost the same spot by Santorelli that snuck under the goaltender's right arm for a quick two-goal advantage 7:03 into the game.

Florida's lead stretched to three when the Panthers took advantage of a Washington penalty with Kulikov's one-timer that slipped through the legs of Neuvirth with 3:29 to go in the first.

But the Capitals answered less than a minute later with a Knuble slap shot through the five-hole of Clemmensen to make it a 3-1 game at the first intermission.

"The first period we didn't play much 5-on-5," Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner said. "You can't take that many penalties and expect to win the game with four guys."

Another power-play goal by the Panthers early in the second put Florida ahead 4-1 when Bergenheim gathered the puck out of a scrum to the right of the net and finished with a wraparound to the left.

A Weiss one-timer with 7:49 left in the second then gave the Panthers a four- goal cushion, but the Capitals cut the deficit back to three with 20 seconds to go in the frame on a Eakin wrister.

Game Notes

Florida went 3-for-6 on the power play, while Washington was 0-for-2 on the man advantage...Florida improved to 6-2-4 at home this season...Washington has now dropped five straight on the road and has a 4-8-0 record as the guest this season...Florida's Tomas Fleischmann had an assist in the game and has at least one point in 17 of his 21 games this year.