Capitals rightfully lose to Panthers

Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Rasmus Sandin, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports /

Saturday night was awkward to say the least. Pittsburgh Penguins fans needed the Washington Capitals to win and some, if not most, of Caps fans wanted their team to lose to better their draft position and spoil the Pens playoff hopes. Those Caps fans got their wish as they fell to the Panthers 4-2 thanks to two goals in the third period.

The first period was scoreless as the Panthers led the Caps in shots 10-7.

Dylan Strome gave the Caps a 1-0 lead with his 21st goal of the season at 8:51 with Tom Wilson and Aliaksei Protas providing the assist. This came after the Panthers struck first but the goal got overturned then another goal by the Panthers got overturned.

Carter Verhageghe finally got a goal that counted at 10:56. Aaron Ekblad gave the Panthers the lead with a power play goal at 13:47. Tom Wilson tied it at 16:05 with Conor Sheary and Evgeny Kuznetsov providing the assists. It was Wilson’s 10th of the season.

2-2 was the score after two with the Caps leading in shots 14-9 in the second period.

Matthew Tkachuk gave the Panthers the lead with a minute left and Sam Reinhart put it away with an empty net goal. The Caps were outshot 18-3 in the third period and 37-24 overall. Alex Ovechkin did not play due to an upper body injury. He’s day to day.

For the Panthers this was a big win for them to keep themselves locked for one of the wild card spots for the playoffs. Matthew Tkachuk said after the game:

"“We have to keep it going. Teams around us are winning and fortunately for us, we kind of control our destiny here. We’ve just got to keep winning here. We all want to make it in so bad, so we’re just doing whatever it takes right now to make sure that happens.”"

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The Caps have three games left. Next up is a Monday night home game with the New York Islanders.