Recap: Samson snipes Samsonov to give Panthers 5-4 comeback win over Capitals

Cats regain the top spot in the NHL with monster four-goal rally

The Florida Panthers delivered a devastating third period performance, scoring four times on 27 shots to erase a three-goal deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals by a 5-4 count at FLA Live Arena.

Washington jumped out to an early lead when Connor McMichael scored on a bank shot off Sergei Bobrovsky at 5:52 and Beck Malenstyn finished off a nice setup by Brett Leason 11 seconds later. Malenstynโ€™s goal was his first in the NHL.

A screening Joe Thornton quickly pulled one back for the Panthers when he tapped in the rebound of MacKenzie Weegarโ€™s blast after the defenseman took a pass from Jonathan Huberdeau.

The Capitals got second period goals from recently returned Lars Eller and Nick Jensen, who picked up an assist on McMichaelโ€™s goal, to open up a three-goal and looked well on their way to beating the Panthers for the second time in four nights.

Ryan Lomberg kicked off the third period comeback with his second of the season at 3:23. After Eetu Luostarinen and Patric Hornqvist worked hard down low to keep possession of the puck, Hornqvist got off a quick shot that Ilya Samsonv denied, but the rebound came right to Lomberg and he pounded it home.

Luostarinen would track down Lombergโ€™s aerial pass, after he combined with Weegar to dispossess Evgeny Kuznetsov of the puck, and convert five-hole on the shorthanded breakaway to close the gap to one 2:36 later. The assist gave Lomberg the first two-point game of his NHL career.

A tie was forged at the 12:01 mark after a sequence of passes saw Huberdeau load up Ekblad for a bomb that was deflected in by Sam Bennett, who was credited with his eighth of the campaign. The power-play goal came about 50 seconds after Bobrovsky made a huge pad save on Garnet Hathawayโ€™s backhand bid, the first of just two Washington shots in the final frame.

Floridaโ€™s power play would click again with 15 seconds remaining in regulation and Malestyn off for goalie interference. Samson would load up and solve Samsonov with a short-side wrist shot from the right circle after taking a crossing pass from Huberdeau, who collected his third helper of the night. Ekblad also picked up his third assist as the Panthers did a great job moving the puck around the offensive zone to produce the Reinhart game-winner.

What a rally from the Panthers, who got off the mat and played one of the best periodโ€™s of hockey one could ask for. 27 shots on Samsonsov, who looked worn-out by the time Reinhart sniped him, an even-strength goal, a shorty, and two power-play markers... Wow! ย The win gives the 15-4-3 Panthers 33 points, which is the most in the league (tied with the Capitals and Toronto) and an NHL-best .750 point percentage (tied with Edmonton).

Stars and Stripes

  • The Cats erased a three-goal, third-period deficit to win for the fourth time in franchise history (3/11/21at Colmbus, 11/12/19 at Boston, 2/10/09 vs. Toronto). Florida joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as only the second team to overcome a three-goal, third-period deficit to win this season.
  • Samson Reinhartโ€™s fifth of the season was his first game-winning and first power-play goal as a member of the Panthers. Reinhart is up to 13 points in 22 games played.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky finished with 23 saves while Ilya Samsonov stopped 46 of 51 shots for the Capitals. Samsonov lost in regulation for the first time this season.
  • Eetu Luostarinen bagged his first career shorthanded goal and added an assist for his second career multi-point game.
  • Beck Malenstyn is the seventh Washington rookie to score his first NHL goal this season, joining Connor McMichael, Brett Leason, Aliaksei Protas, Hendrix Lapierre, Martin Fehervary, and Garrett Pilon.
  • MacKenzie Weegarโ€™s assist extended his point streak to three games. Weegar also registered six takeaways, tied for the most takeaways in a single game by any NHL skater in 2021-22.
  • Dmitry Orlov picked up two assists and Trevor van Riemsdyk, Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin and Nic Dowd also had helpers for the Capitals, who were 9-2-1 on the road coming into the game.
  • For more on Floridaโ€™s season-series winner, head over to Japersโ€™ Rink./

Video Recap (courtesy of