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Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals Pick & Prediction MAY 13TH 2022

Logo Florida Panthers
Logo Washington Capitals

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6.5o -125



After yet another big comeback win, the Florida Panthers are on the verge of their first postseason series victory in 26 years Friday night as they visit the Washington Capitals for Game 6 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series.

The Panthers hold a 3-2 lead in the series, which seemed unlikely when they had fallen behind 3-0 after 26 minutes of play in Game 5. Florida scored five unanswered goals to claim the pivotal victory.

Carter Verhaeghe recorded two goals and three assists. The five-point performance was a personal best for Verhaeghe, setting a Panthers record for points in a single playoff game.

The forward also scored two goals in Game 4, including the overtime winner in Florida's 3-2 victory.

"Back-to-back games like that, tonight with the five points, and (Verhaeghe was) a big part of every goal and every play we made," Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. "It takes everybody to step up, and it was his turn here the last few games. Hopefully he keeps it rolling. We talked last game about how vital he is to the way we play, and he was relentless all night."

Game 5 was another example of how the high-scoring Panthers seemingly can't be counted out. During the regular season, the Panthers set an NHL record with five wins in games they trailed by at least three goals.

The Capitals had been only 2:04 away from a 3-1 series lead before Sam Reinhart's late equalizer in Game 4. Now, Washington will need to win on Friday just to keep its season alive.

In the view of Washington coach Peter Laviolette, "there were two games that were played" during Game 5.

"There was the game to push it to 3-0 where I liked everything we did ... and then there was the game that took place after that," Laviolette said. "If you play against a team like Florida that is a high-octane team, we're just feeding them and we can't. We've got to get back to that first part of that game, and you've got to play it consistently for 60 minutes."

Another dichotomy exists between even-strength play and special teams play in the series. Florida has outscored Washington by a 15-8 margin at even strength, but the Capitals are a perfect 16-for-16 in penalty kills. The Capitals are 6-for-20 on the power play, scoring at least once with the extra attacker in every game.

Washington goalie Ilya Samsonov stopped 33 of 38 shots in Game 5, playing every minute since replacing Vitek Vanecek prior to the third period of Game 2. Despite the shaky performance on Wednesday, Samsonov still has a 2.68 goals against average for the series, and could be favored to start again.

Sergei Bobrovsky is likely to make his sixth straight start for Florida.

Florida's Mason Marchment is questionable after missing Game 5 with an undisclosed injury.

Capitals forward Tom Wilson is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, sidelined since suffering the injury early in Game 1.

The Panthers are winless in their last seven postseason series and haven't won a playoff series since reaching the Stanley Cup Final 1996, when they were swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

The 24-season drought without a series victory is the longest of any team in the NHL.

If necessary, Game 7 is scheduled for Sunday in Sunrise, Florida.

--Field Level Media

Florida Panthers
Washington Capitals

Florida Panthers vs. Washington Capitals

Lars Eller and Brendan Leipsic both scored third-period goals as the Washington Capitals defeated the visiting Florida Panthers 4-3 Wednesday night.

The victory ended a two-game Washington losing streak. Florida now has dropped three in a row.

The Capitals had scored just two goals in their past two games before breaking out a bit in this one. Florida outshot Washington 40-20 and came up with numerous scoring chances, but goalie Braden Holtby made 37 stops, and the Capitals came through in the final 20 minutes.

Eller got the tiebreaking goal, and Leipsic added some insurance a few minutes later for a 4-2 lead. The Panthers got one back but could do no more.

Alex Ovechkin scored the game's first goal on a quick shot that slid through goalie Sergei Bobrovsky's five hole with 2:03 remaining in the first period.

Florida tied it when former Capital Brett Connolly scored on a breakaway goal. Vincent Trocheck grabbed a bad Washington pass in the defensive zone, sprung Connolly with a nice stretch pass, and Connolly put it past Holtby with 8:43 left in the second period.

The teams then swapped late goals to end the second with a 2-2 tie. Richard Panik scored with one minute remaining on a shot from the right circle, giving the Caps a brief 2-1 lead.

Then, 22 seconds later, Mike Hoffman tied it for the Panthers, also with a shot from the right circle.

Washington broke the tie 5:18 into the third period, when Eller put away the rebound of a Jakub Vrana shot. Vrana raced up the left wing and fired a shot that Bobrovsky stopped, but the puck came back out between the circles, and Eller backhanded it into the net for a 3-2 lead.

Leipsic broke in on Bobrovsky and beat him on a backhander with 8:01 left.

Trocheck then cut the lead to 4-3 with on his goal with 4:29 left.

The Panthers pulled Bobrovsky, but a late penalty basically negated that move, and the Caps held on.

--Field Level Media

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