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Haraz Ghanbari, Associated Press
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, left, of Russia, celebrates his power-play goal with teammate Marcus Johansson, of Sweden, during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Mathieu Perreault scored with 13 seconds elapsed, Alex Ovechkin had two goals and the Washington Capitals beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 Tuesday night to take over first place in the Southeast Division.

Former Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun stopped 42 shots in his fourth shutout of the season, the second against Florida.

Jason Chimera contributed a goal and an assist to help the Capitals supplant the Panthers atop the division. Washington has 60 points and Florida is at 59 with a game in hand.

Winning the Southeast title is imperative to both teams, because the runner-up may not end up among the eight Eastern Conference teams that qualify for the playoffs.

With the win, the Capitals jumped from ninth place to the third seed. And now Florida is ninth, on the outside looking in.