Capitals rally late, stun top-seeded Panthers in Game 1

SUNRISE, Fla. — T.J. Oshie scored the go-ahead objective halfway via the third interval, Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 pictures and the Washington Capitals rallied previous the top-seeded Florida Panthers 4-2 within the opener of their Jap Convention first-round collection Tuesday evening.

Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller additionally scored for Washington, which trailed 2-1 going into the third interval. Groups had been 0-39-1 in opposition to Florida within the common season when trailing after 40 minutes, 0-22-0 when doing so on the Panthers’ residence ice.

The Capitals will need to have ignored these numbers. Kuznetsov tied the sport after a Florida turnover with 11:46 left, then Oshie received behind the protection and tapped a move by Sergei Bobrovsky for what grew to become the winner 2:23 later.

Eller wrapped it up with an empty-netter with 49 seconds left.

Capitals heart Nicklas Backstrom (19) and proper wing T.J. Oshie (77) rejoice the go-ahead objective by Oshie in the course of the third interval of Recreation 1 in opposition to the Panthers.

Claude Giroux and Sam Bennett scored for Florida, which has not received the opening recreation of a postseason collection since 1997. Bobrovsky stopped 34 pictures for the Panthers, the Presidents’ Trophy winners after an NHL-best 122 factors within the common season — and noticed the home-ice benefit slip away of their playoff opener.

Recreation 2 is Thursday, again in Florida.

The Panthers argued for an icing name that didn’t come on the play the place the sport received tied. MacKenzie Weegar misplaced the puck after bouncing into Capitals star Alex Ovechkin close to heart ice, went down, and Kuznetsov skated in alone on Bobrovsky. He beat him to the stick aspect, tying the sport 2-2 with 11:46 left.

Oshie’s go-ahead objective got here not lengthy afterward, and Florida by no means received the equalizer.

The Panthers had 340 objectives within the common season and have been the NHL’s highest-scoring crew since Pittsburgh in 1995-96 — which, maybe coincidentally, was the final (and solely) season wherein Florida has received a playoff collection. The Panthers went to the Stanley Cup ultimate that season, haven’t gotten previous Spherical 1 since, and the high-octane offense was largely silenced in Recreation 1.

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) scores against Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the third period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in Sunrise, Fla.
Capitals heart Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) scores in opposition to Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

The Panthers discovered themselves on the penalty kill simply 49 seconds into the sport after Radko Gudas received referred to as for high-sticking, and issues worsened when Weegar was hit with a delay of recreation name to offer Washington 1:01 of 5-on-3 hockey.

The 2-man drawback was killed off. And Florida was one second away from escaping the entire thing unscathed, earlier than Wilson scored at 3:47 to offer Washington a 1-0 lead.

However Wilson left the sport not lengthy afterward. He returned to the ice throughout a stoppage in play within the second interval, skated a bit as if to check one thing, then returned to the locker room. There was no instant phrase on the harm or its extent.

Bennett tied the sport late within the first, Giroux made it 2-1 within the second, however the Panthers have been blanked the remainder of the way in which.

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