Panthers Fight Off Washington’s Dominant Start, Pound Capitals, 5-1, To Tie Series At One

Photo: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers by a score of 5-1 at FLA Live Arena on Thursday as the best-of-seven 2022 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series is now tied at one game apiece.

Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 13 saves on 18 shots in the loss before getting pulled in favor of Ilya Samsonov, who stopped all 17 shots faced, at the start of the third period.

Capitals’ Round 1, Game 2 Lines

Photo: @Capitals

With right-wing Tom Wilson unavailable after leaving the first period of the  Game 1 with a lower-body injury and not returning, Brett Leason made his postseason debut. He skated on the fourth-line while Garnet Hathaway bumped up to the third.

Scratched: C Connor McMichael, LW Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, LHD Matt Irwin, LHD Michal Kempny

Injured: LW Carl Hagelin (eye, missed 28th straight game, out indefinitely)

First Period

Defenseman Aaron Ekblad’s bomb bounced off of Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary and over the blocker of Vanecek after Ekblad got a loose puck up top to open the scoring with 3:40 left in the period.

Center Aleksander Barkov touched home a cross-ice pass from left-wing Jonathan Huberdeau, who dangled around Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and backhanded one past a sliding John Carlson, at the left post to double the Panthers’ lead 1:32 later.

The Capitals led 11-6 in shots and 24-16 in hits in the first.

The Panthers led 6-4 in blocked shots, 2-0 in takeaways, had three giveaways while the Capitals tallied 10, did not score on two power plays, and won 63% of the draws through 20 minutes.

Second Period

Backstrom slid one through the five-hole of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky from the side of the net after captain Alex Ovechkin faked a slapper and fed him from up top to cut the Panthers’ lead in half on the power play at 2:44.

27 seconds later, left-wing Mason Marchment put one through the wickets of Vanecek all alone down low to finish off a four-way passing play after getting a pass from up top to restore the Panthers’ two-goal lead.

After left-wing Carter Verhaeghe broke up a Capitals’ attempted defensive zone exit at the blueline, he fed center Anton Lundell all alone down low and he executed a give-and-go with right-wing Sam Reinhart. Lundell tapped one past Vanecek to make it 4-1 with 4:36 left in the period.

Verhaeghe ripped one underneath the cross-bar and over the glove of Vanecek after getting a stretch pass from defenseman Radko Gudas at the blueline to extend the Panthers’ lead to 5-1 with 2:28 to go in the second.

The Capitals led 24-18 in shots (including 13-12 in the middle frame), 41-30 in hits, and converted once on three power plays through 40 minutes.

The Panthers led 7-1 in takeaways, 12-9 in blocked shots, had six giveaways while the Capitals were credited with 16, were held off of the board on two man advantage opportunities, and won 52% of the draws in the first two periods.

Third Period

The Capitals led 60-39 in hits and converted once on three power plays.

The Panthers led 36-27 in shots (including 18-3 in the third), 11-3 in takeaways, 21-13 in blocked shots, had six giveaways while the Capitals were credited with 21, were held off of the board on four man advantage opportunities, and won 53% of the draws.

Game 3: Saturday from Capital One Arena (1 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington locally, ESPN 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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3 Responses to Panthers Fight Off Washington’s Dominant Start, Pound Capitals, 5-1, To Tie Series At One

  1. Yves says:

    Not the end of the world. It’s about how they respond on Saturday. They know what they need to play to win.

  2. DC Scappeli says:

    They got the split at least. Now let’s see if they can take advantage of home ice for a change….

    Yes, Caps need to execute better and counter the FL adjustments. Also, Caps getting physically beaten and pushed around on the ice. They were targeting Jensen for big hits and that is crucial since he’s one of the puck carrying D men on the break outs.

    Caps need some physicality and strategically ramp up hits on the FL D men and wear them down too

  3. novafyre says:

    So who do you put in goal? Vee? Sammy? Zach? Those are the three on the roster.

    Cops? Hunter? One of our new signers? Joe B? Who is our EBUG?

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