Panthers dominate Capitals in Game 2

Johan Larsson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Johan Larsson, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers are now even at one game apiece in the best of seven first round Stanley Cup playoff series. The Panthers won by a final of 5-1 in a game where the Caps dug themselves in too deep of a hole to overcome.

Aarok Ekblad struck first for the Panthers at 16:20. Aleksander Barkov doubled the lead at 17:58. The Panthers led 2-0 after one despite the Caps leading in shots 11-7.

The Caps finally got on the board at 2:44 on the power play with a snipe from Nicklas Backstrom, assisted by Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson. That would be the only goal of the Caps for the game as they wasted other power play opportunities including a four minute one.

From there on the Panthers piled it on. Mason Marchment scored at 3:11. Anton Lundell scored at 15:24. Carter Verhaeghe made it 5-1 at 17:32. The second period would end with the Caps leading in shots 13-12 and it would also mark the end of the night for Vitek Vanecek. Ilya Samsonov came on for the third.

In that third period the Caps were outshot 17-3 and 36-27 overall. Samsonov stopped all 17 shots. Fans chanted “We want 10” and it felt like a game that the Caps lost by 10. At least it wasn’t.

Either way, everything that could have gone wrong for the Caps did go wrong. Game 1 showed what the Caps needed to do to win the series. Game 2 showed what happens if they dig themselves in a hole against the league’s top offensive team.

Ovechkin talked about Game 2 to the media:

"“You give up two goals right away but the most important thing for us is we don’t give up. We try to bounce back in the game 2-1 and another mistake. How I say, #$%# happens. Move on. 1-1, how I said, it is a good scenario for us.”"

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Game 3 is Saturday at 1 p.m. from Capital One Arena.