Hoffman strike gives Panthers wild 5-4 overtime win over Capitals
Cats ride puck luck to sixth victory in eight games
Mike Hoffman scored a power-play goal 91 seconds into overtime, his 25th tally of the season, from Keith Yandle and Aleksander Barkov to give the Florida Panthers a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals in a wild one from the nation’s capital.
The Panthers bounced back from blowing a two-goal, early third period lead to win in the extra session for the second consecutive game and climbed back over NHL . 500 at 23-22-8.
Frank Vatrano (18), Yandle (8), Colton Sceviour (5) and Derick Brassard (10) scored in regulation for the Cats, who pulled within nine points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Cats have two games in hand on the Penguins.
Brassard goal was his first as a Panther and put his new club up 4-2 before the Capitals rallied and sent the game to overtime on a Evgeny Kuznetsov’s marker with 3:06 left in regulation.
Brett Connolly, who slashed Aleksander Barkov with 4 seconds left to give Florida’s deadly power play the man-advantage in overtime, lit the lamp twice and added an assist.
Lars Eller also scored for the Stanley Cup champions while Alex Ovechkin was held to an assist.
Roberto Luongo, who wasn’t as sharp as he was against Pittsburgh on Thursday, finished with 26 saves and won in Washington for the first time since 2011.
Luongo joined legends Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy as the only goaltenders with 1,000 career NHL starts and tied Roy for second in all-time games played with 1,029. Luongo is one win away from tying Ed Belfour for third on the all-time list.
The Cats return to Sunrise to face the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final time this season tonight at 6 p.m.. Florida is 0-1-2 against its league-leading, cross-state rival.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)