WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — Sam Reinhart tied it late in regulation, Carter Verheghe scored his second of the game in overtime, and the Florida Panthers, who won the Presidents’ Trophy, beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in Game 4 on Monday night. Tie the first round. Chain.
Verheghe scored 4:57 in overtime to prevent the NHL’s best regular-season team from being pushed to the brink of elimination much earlier than expected in the playoffs. It’s a best-of-three series now with Game 5 on Wednesday night in Florida.
“It’s tough out there — everybody’s got to play a little harder,” said Verheghe, who played eight games on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2020 Cup run in the bubble. “We are competing for the cup. Nothing is easy. Nothing is given to you.”
The Panthers were just two minutes away from facing the prospect of being knocked out at home. Then, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky pulled for an extra attacker, Reinhart collected a loose puck after bounced off Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway and beat Ilya Samsonov in the third period with 2:04 remaining.
“As a hockey player you want to be in these kind of conditions,” Reinhart said. “It’s a game that really can go either way at the end of it and we stick with it and we’re happy with the result.”
Given the combination of nerves and playoff inexperience that contributed to Florida’s struggles in the series, Reinhart’s goal could be the one that saved its season.
Prior to that point, the Panthers had outplayed the Capitals by a large margin, but were unable to finish again. He could make the series 0 for 4 in the power play and 0 for 13 in the series and could not put the puck into the net at 5 for 5.
His only other goal was 4 on 4 when Carter Verheghe scored 2 on 1 late in the first, before Reinhart scored 6 for 5.
Bobrovsky blocked 14 out of 16 shots. Samsonov scored 29 goals.
TJ Oshie scored in the first power play, and Evgeny Kuznetsov put Washington ahead on a goal goal in the middle of the third.
These teams have now traded wins. The Capitals have not won consecutive playoff matches since 2019.
Florida is trying to break the franchise’s playoff series, which dates back to 1996, when the team reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Panthers overcame more penalty problems on Monday when they were whistled for seven minors and needed to hit 43 seconds of a 5-on-3 Washington power play. Similar disciplinary issues caused them to lose to eventual champions Tampa Bay in the first round of the previous season.
After amassing 111 points during the regular season, the expectations are high this time around. Interim coach Andrew Brunet and the players lamented the Panthers’ inability to find a game in playoff hockey that usually had a different style and greater intensity.
Shyamala wanted to look out of her team after waxing 6-1 in Game 3 on Saturday. The Panthers had this occasionally and pushed early in the third period, but they needed extra time—in the third game of 30 to be completed in the playoffs—to go overtime to even the series. till.
Notes: The Panthers stuck with the same lineup from 1-3 games, but moved a few players around on the front and defense. … Niklas Backstrom’s secondary assist on Oshi’s goal gave him a team-leading five points in the playoffs.
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