One NHL playoff series ended while another continued.
Florida broke the drought of the 26-year-old playoff series with a 4-3 victory in overtime over the Washington Capitals in the 6th game on Friday night. The Panthers had not won a playoff series since 1996 when they appeared in a Stanley Cup final.
“[That series win] “It’s been a long time,” said Jonathan Huberdeau, who scored three points in a row against Washington. Now we can go to the end. “
Florida, which advanced thanks to Carter Verhaeghe’s OT winner, is now moving on to face the winner between Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs in the second round. Game 7 of this series is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
While Florida eventually won a playoff series, Washington continues to drop early in the playoffs. The defeat led to four consecutive first-round relegations for Washington, which has not advanced to the playoffs since winning a Stanley Cup in 2018.
“[It’s] a somewhat made-up situation, “Capitals boss Alex Ovechkin said of the team’s dry spell.” I think you can see how we played against the best team in the regular season. We have it, but we just get over it. It is upon us. It’s on me, up [Nicklas Backstrom]on [TJ Oshie]on [John Carlson]. It’s for everyone. “
“We basically gave them the turn,” Backstrom added.
However, Washington did not make it easy in Florida. The Capitals found it difficult to start these playoffs, coming in as eight winners over the winners of the Presidents’ Trophy. Florida dominated the league offensively from the start and reached the top with a record 122 points.
However, the Capitals did their best for Florida, taking a 2-1 lead in Game 3.
In fact, Washington won Game 1 and Game 3 with a combined score of 10-3, pushing Sergei Bobrovsky into the Florida net and challenging the Florida high-ocean attackers. In the 5th game, the capitals also had a 3-0 lead, but let it go to end up with their backs to the wall.
This was a critical swing for the Panthers. Not only did he give them the upper hand in the series, but he stifled Washington’s rising confidence before what would be a decisive 6 game in their own building.
“You have to go through these things to really feel it,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said of handling adversity. “You have to have cracks. You find out how difficult it is, you understand it and you are resilient. When you see the reward as they saw it tonight, it’s worth it.
“We took the punch, got up and started turning back.”
Washington tried everything they could even in Game 6 to prevent Florida from advancing, scoring slowly to force overtime and forcing the Panthers to work for the series win.
The Capitals were first on the board and in that game when Nic Dowd beat Bobrovsky early in the second half.
But Ryan Lomberg responded quickly for Florida, making it 2-2 in the third period.
The Capitals kept up the pressure and Backstrom put them back on top again less than two minutes into this final frame. Claude Giroux scored his third post-season goal for Florida to equalize in the middle though, and captain Aleksander Barkov scored the Panthers’ goal-protecting goal late Tuesday.
The winner of Verhaeghe’s game against Florida was his sixth goal of the postseason. He had left the game earlier with an obvious injury, but returned to play a hero for the Panthers. Thus, Verhaeghe became the first NHL player to score three consecutive playoff goalscoring goals after David Krejci in 2011 and is the first player in the Florida franchise history to record multiple OT playoff winners in a single series.
The Panthers now advance to the second round keeping the ominous characterization of the only playoff team that did not score a goal in power play. Florida went 0-pre-19 against Washington with the extra player, as they had the fifth best power play in the league (24.4%) in the regular season.