The Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers meet in the first round with the latter holding the best record in the NHL entering the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Capitals will be looking to win another Stanley Cup after capturing one in 2018. Here’s a look at how the series is playing out.
Panthers win series 4-2 over Capitals
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Florida was in control for most of the game, holding a 2-1 lead heading into the final period. Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie managed to strike for the Capitals in a span of three minutes, flipping the entire contest on its head. Washington added another late goal to ice the contest and take a 1-0 lead.
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Recap — This feels like a trend in the first round; some top teams losing Game 1 only to bounce back in Game 2. The Panthers scored three straight goals in the second period to defeat the Capitals 5-1 in Game 2 to even their series. Florida will head to Washington, D.C. for Game 3 having lost home ice. Vitek Vanecek was lit up for five goals in the loss before Ilya Samsonov replaced him and made 17 saves. We could see Samsonov start Game 3 after what happened on Thursday night.
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Recap — The Panthers had the best record in the NHL during the regular season and are down in the first round. Florida got blown out in D.C. on Saturday thanks to a flurry of goals in the third period by Washington. Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves on 30 shots in the victory.
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 OT
Recap — Carter Verhaeghe scored in overtime to give the Panthers a 3-2 win in Game 4 on Monday night, evening the series with the Capitals 2-2. Florida had to score a goal with 2:04 left in regulation to force overtime before winning. The Capitals had a chance to go up 3-1 at home heading back to Florida. Now, the Panthers have new life with a three-game series where two games are at home.
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Recap — Florida picked up its second straight win in the series to take a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6 on Friday. The Panthers were staring down a 3-1 hole in Game 4 before scoring late and winning in OT thanks to Verhaeghe, who had five points in Game 5 to bring his total up to 10 for the series. Verhaeghe had two goals and three assists while Claude Giroux scored and also had an assist for Florida. The Capitals blew a 3-0 lead and are blowing leads left and right in this series.
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 OT
Recap — Carter Verhaeghe did it again. His goal in OT sends Florida to the second round. The Panthers were down 1-0 and 2-1 in Game 6 against the Caps on Friday night. Florida would come back twice and eventually win to take the series 4-2. Aleksander Barkov scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period before Washington tied it up to force OT. The Panthers await the winner of Game 7 of the Maple Leafs-Lightning series in the second round.