Carter Verhaeghe scored twice, including the decisive goal 4:57 into overtime as the Florida Panthers pulled out a 3-2 overtime win over the Washington Capitals to even the first round series at two games apiece.
After coming off the bench and taking a lead pass from Aaron Ekblad at the blue line, Verhaeghe moved into the Capitals zone and let go of shot that ticked off Sam Bennett’s leg. Ilya Samsonov kicked out a pad to stop the redirected shot, but the Verhaeghe got to the rebound in the lower left circle and ripped the puck over into the top righthand corner of the net to end it.
The Panthers sent the game to a fourth period, with 2:04 remaining in regulation and Sergei Bobrovsky off for an extra attacker. when Huberdeau’s forced pass attempt struck Garnet Hathaway and came down it the slot where Sam Reinhart slapped the bouncing puck by Samsonov for his first career playoff goal. Barkov drew the secondary assist on the tying marker which came shortly after Hathaway missed clinching the game when his long range attempt went just wide of the empty net, It was the latest game-tying goal in Panthers playoff history.
Washington opened the scoring 7:15 into the first period with Bennett in the sin bin for tripping Dmitry Orlov. Niklas Backstrom fed the puck back to John Carlson and his shot deflected off T.J. Oshie and eluded Bobrovsky.
Verhaeghe evened it up at 14:08 when he beat Samsonov along the ice after Ekblad was able to get a pass through Martin Fehervary on a 2-on-1 break.
After a scoreless second period, Evgeny Kuznetsov snapped the 1-1 tie at 9:31 when he took a pass from Alex Ovechkin, broke in on goal and finished up high after pulling Bobrovsky to the ice. Oshie started the play off by stripping the puck from Bennett at the Capitals blue line and then hitting him up high in the next instant.
Hats off to the Panthers for battling back after what many will say was a missed call and finding a way to win despite going 0 for 4 on the power play. Man-advantage warts aside, the Cats delivered their best, and grittiest, effort of the series, limiting Washington to just 16 shots on goal while putting 32 on Samsonov, who finally blinked in the end game. Bobrovsky didn’t face a lot of shots, but came up with some big saves when he had to, including a dandy on Marcus Johansson right before he was pulled for the extra attacker.
Stars & Gripes
- He of the huge pair, Carter Verhaeghe became the fourth Panther to score a playoff overtime goal, joining Mike Hough, Dave Lowry, and Ryan Lomberg. Verhaeghe became the first player in franchise history to score in regulation and overtime of a playoff game.
- With his primary assist on the game-tying goal, Jonathan Huberdeau has 19 career playoff points, pushing him past Ray Sheppard for the most in Panthers history.
- Aaron Ekblad registered two assists for his first career multi-point postseason game. He has posted four points through the first four games of the series, the second-most on the team behind Verhaeghe’s five.
- Blackjack! Capitals Garnet Hathaway, Nic Dowd and Martin Feheravy each had a game-high seven hits. The trio finished with a combined -4 rating.
- Patric Hornqvist skated in his 100th career playoff game. Hornqvist was credited with one hit in 10:21.
- For more on Sergei Bobrovsky’s second playoff win with the Panthers, visit Japers’ Rink.