Recap: Eetu in OT! Panthers fend off Capitals for ninth win

Cats post wild 5-4 victory over Caps

Eetu Luostarinen scored 1:55 into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals in a wild one from FLA Live Arena that saw all four goalies get in the game.

Luostarinen took a pass from Gustav Forsling and was looking to go back door to Frank Vatrano. Tom Wilson got his stick on the puck and deflected it past Vitek Vanecek to give the Panthers the win after they blew a three-goal lead.

It was one weird night for the goalies.

Ilya Samsonov was slated to start for the Capitals, but instead it was Vanecek for the first 1:45 of game time before Samsonov entered the game after “having an issue.”

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 13 shots he faced in the first period as the Cats built up a two-goal lead, but did not return for the second due to an upper-body injury.

After being beaten by Aleksander Barkov and Aaron Ekblad in the first, Samsonov left the game for good at 7;16 of the second when Brandon Montour put a perfectly placed shot into the far top corner with the assists going to Forsllng and Mason Marchment.

Barkov solved Washington’s other goalie by finishing from in close after Patric Hornqvist and Jonathan Huberdeau worked the puck free with the Panthers on a power play to give the hosts what appeared to be a very comfortable 4-1 lead with 4:28 left in the frame.

The goal was a historic one as Barkov tied Olli Jokinen for most goals in franchise history with 188.  Barkov, who was named First Star of his brace and team-leading five shots, has racked up five goals in his last three outings.

Alek Ovechkin took over after that, scoring his 740th career goal at 18;11, from Lars Eller, by firing the puck just under Spencer Knight’s glove, and then combining with John Carlson to set up a Wilson redirection 1:32 later to pull the Capitals within a goal before the break.

The only tally of the third period came when Ovechkin withstood some punishment from Ekblad behind the net and flipped the puck in front to Connor McMichael, who put it home for his first NHL goal to knot the score at the 6:56 mark. Brett Leason drew the secondary assist on the play.

Knight shut the door the rest of the way to finish with 25 saves on 29 shots to pikc up his third win of the season. The first shot Knight faced was from Daniel Sprong, on a breakaway that the 24-year-old forward converted. Anthony Mantha sprung Sprong with a nice outlet pass.

It was a tale of two games with the Panthers looking dominant for the first 35-plus minutes and the Capitals flipping the script for the remainder of the game. After giving up three goals in the second, Knight rebounded to stop 9 of 10 shots in the third to get his club to the extra session where they took care of business. The Cats did a good job of staying out of the penalty box, limiting the visitors to just two power-play attempts which were killed off, and they were much more effective on faceoffs, winning 49% of the game’s draws. Up next is the one a lot of people are waiting for... the Carolina Hurricanes are in Sunrise on Saturday night.

Stars and Stripes

  • Hometown boy Chase Priskie, from Pembroke Pines, finally made his NHL debut. Priskie logged 10:37 TOI and had a shot on goal, a block and finished with a -1 rating.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky, who is  currently listed as day to day, didn’t figure in the decision, but did lower his GAA to 1.72 and upped his save percentage up to .948. Hopefully, Bob’s back for the game against the Hurricanes.
  • Maxim Mamin played 11:08 and registered two shots on goal in his first NHL game since November 17, 2018 after playing the last three seasons with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
  • Alex Ovechkin is the first player to score 10 goals this season. He is the first player to do that in three times. Spencer Knight became the 150th victim of The Great Eight goalscoring prowess.
  • Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe picked up the assists on Aleksander Barkov’s first goal of the game. Barkov had another goal waived off for goalie interference before he bagged his second.
  • Ilya Samsonov stopped 15 of 18 shots while Vitek Vanecek turned away 13 of 15 and took the loss.
  • For more on the wild affair head on over to Japers’ Rink./

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