Capitals Stun Panthers, 4-2, With Two Late Goals 2:23 Apart; Wilson Scores, Leaves Game With Undisclosed Injury

The Washington Capitals took a 1-0 lead in their 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series against the Florida Panthers after a 4-2 win at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise on Tuesday night. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 30 saves in the win.

Capitals’ Round 1, Game 1 Lines

Graphic: @Capitals

Captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup after missing the final three regular-season games due to an upper-body injury while left-wing Axel Jonsson-Fjallby drew out. Center Connor McMichael came out with Nicklas Backstrom returning from a one-game absence due to maintenance. Left-wing Conor Sheary skated on the top-line while right-wings Tom Wilson and T.J. Oshie each bumped down one. Center Johan Larsson returned to his normal spot on the fourth-line.

Scratched: McMichael, Jonsson-Fjallby, LHD Matt Irwin, LHD Michal Kempny

Injured: LW Carl Hagelin (eye, missed 27th straight game, out indefinitely)

First Period

As a power play expired, Wilson pounced on a rebound from down low and beat Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to the blocker side to open the scoring in the series 3:48 in after left-wing Anthony Mantha’s wrister from up top was stopped. He left the game with an undisclosed injury after playing just 1:31 and did not return.

Center Sam Bennett ripped a wrister from the slot to the blocker-side through the Capitals’ defensive pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Nick Jensen after flying into the offensive zone to tie it with 2:05 left in the period.

The Capitals led 16-9 in shots, won 61% of the faceoffs, scored once on three power plays, and earned two giveaways while the Panthers tallied four through 20 minutes.

The Panthers led 28-11 in hits and 4-2 in takeaways in the first.

Each team blocked three shots through one.

Second Period

Right-wing Claude Giroux tapped in a backhander on the rebound in at the doorstep after Vanecek stopped defenseman Brandon Montour’s point shot off of a draw to give the Panthers the lead 43 seconds into the second.

The Capitals led 30-20 in shots (including 14-10 in the second), 56% of the faceoffs, scored once on three man advantage opportunities, and recorded three giveaways while the Panthers had 11 in the first two periods.

The Panthers led 41-23 in hits, 7-6 in blocked shots, 8-5 in takeaways, and did not take advantage of two power plays through two.

Third Period

After Ovechkin hit Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar at center ice to force a turnover, center Evgeny Kuznetsov pinched at the blueline, streaked all alone to the net, and beat Bobrovsky to the blocker side to tie the game 8:14 into the third.

Oshie slammed in center Nicklas Backstrom’s feed from the half-wall in front of the net after beating Giroux on a foot race to give the Capitals the lead back 2:23 after Kuznetsov’s strike.

With 48.2 seconds left, center Lars Eller whipped a bouncing puck off of the half-wall in the Capitals’ end into an open net to double the Capitals’ lead.

The Capitals led 38-32 in shots, scored once on three man advantage opportunities, and recorded six giveaways while the Panthers had 13.

The Panthers led 12-7 in third-period shots, won 53% of the draws, 56-43 in hits, 12-11 in blocked shots, 14-9 in takeaways, and did not take advantage of two power plays.

Game 2: Thursday at 7:30 PM ET from FLA Live Arena (7:30 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, TBS nationally)

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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10 Responses to Capitals Stun Panthers, 4-2, With Two Late Goals 2:23 Apart; Wilson Scores, Leaves Game With Undisclosed Injury

  1. DC Scappeli says:

    HELL YEAH!!!!! stick it to all the pundits and the oddsmakers!!!! 1 down, 3 to go for the upset!

    Caps must continue to execute the game plan to frustrate the Cats, get them off their game. meanwhile, Caps have started to create pressure and doubt in Bob’s head! Guys like Hornquist and Marchment were cheap shotting due to frustration. Keep at it. All the pressure is on the interim coach and and the Panthers; after all, the Caps were supposed to get swept, a cake walk…ha, love it!

  2. Dennis Phillips says:

    Piss on the odds, ALL CAPS! TOM WILSON FIGHT CLUB REPRESENT!

  3. Anonymous says:

    That’s how you beat the best.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ovechkin and Backstrom were key in game 1.

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