Caps Comeback to Take Game 1

Washington Capitals v. Florida Panthers
Game 1

Game Recap:

Kicking off the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Washington Capitals would head down to Florida to take on the Panthers for the first time ever in the Playoffs, and in the opening minute of Game 1 Radko Gudas would go to the penalty box for high sticking Tom Wilson. On the first powerplay of the game the Caps would force the Panthers to take another penalty as MacKenzie Weegar would shoot the puck over the glass to give the Caps an abbreviated two man advantage. The Caps would surge during the powerplay, but the Panthers would do a great job to keep the Caps at bay, but it would be Tom Wilson scoring his 14th career playoff goal as the powerplay expired to give the Capitals the 1-0 lead. After the goal the game would settle down a little bit as both teams would look to score, but both Vitek Vanecek and Sergei Bobrovsky would be up to the task. However, with the Capitals continuing the pressure against the Panther Ben Chiarot would go to the box for holding to give the Caps their third powerplay of the period. Despite some spectacular scoring chances while on the powerplay, but Bobrovsky would keep the Caps from growing their lead to two. With a little over two minutes left in the period Sam Bennett would make some moves to get Vanecek moving in the crease and snipe the shot past him to get the Panthers on the board and tie the game at one. Overall a solid first period for the Caps. They had some really great looks, but Bobrovsky would stop 15 of the 16 shots he faced to keep the Caps to only one goal.

To start the second period the Panthers would pounce on the Caps as Claude Giroux would bury a rebound opportunity to give the Panthers their first lead of the game. It would be a high shot from Brandon Montour that would give Vanecek some difficulty to control and allow Giroux the opportunity to score the goal. Things would get testy in the second period and the Caps would give the Panthers a couple of powerplays as a result. First Martin Fehervary would go off for holding to which the Caps would keep the Panthers at bay. Then both Anthony Mantha and Mason Marchment would both go off for slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct respectively for some 4 on 4 hockey, which would see some solid opportunities, but no goals would be scored. Then Johan Larsson would take a stupid slashing penalty to give the Panthers second powerplay of the game, but the Caps would once again shut down the Panthers powerplay to kill of the penalty. The Caps still had really good pace in this period, but the early strike from Giroux would put them in the hole they are currently in.

Then in the third period both teams would go back and forth, but the Panthers would get some excellent zone time against the Caps. However, around the eight minute mark of the period Alex Ovechkin would battle hard to get the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov to who would go in uncontested against Bobrovsky to score and tie the game at two for the Caps. A little over two minutes later the Caps would retake the lead from the Panthers as TJ Oshie would redirect a Nicklas Backstrom pass past Bobrovsky to give the Caps the 3-2 lead and the momentum. After taking the lead the Caps would grind it out defensively to keep the Panthers from tying the game, and with 90 seconds left in regulation the Panthers would pull Bobrovsky for the extra attacker, but Lars Eller would ice this one as he would get the empty netter to give the Capitals the 4-2 victory over the Panthers.

Couple notes of concern for the Caps. They lost Tom Wilson in the first period after he scored on the powerplay. It’s suspected it is related to when he was high sticked resulting in the first Caps powerplay. Also in the final seconds of the game Sam Bennett would throw a head shot on John Carlson who would leave the game immediately after taking the hit. Losing both players would be a heavy blow for the Caps and something to keep an eye on leading into Game Two.

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Lineups:

Washington Capitals:

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary

Marcus Johansson — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson

Anthony Mantha — Lars Eller — T.J. Oshie

Johan Larsson — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Martin Fehervary — John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen

Trevor van Riemsdyk — Justin Schultz

Vitek Vanecek

Ilya Samsonov

Scratched: Connor McMichael, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, Matt Irwin, Michal Kempny, Zach Fucale

Injured: Carl Hagelin (left eye)

Florida Panthers:

Carter Verhaeghe — Aleksander Barkov — Anthony Duclair

Jonathan Huberdeau — Sam Bennett — Claude Giroux

Mason Marchment — Anton Lundell — Sam Reinhart

Ryan Lomberg — Eetu Luostarinen — Patric Hornqvist

MacKenzie Weegar — Aaron Ekblad

Gustav Forsling — Radko Gudas

Ben Chiarot — Brandon Montour

Sergei Bobrovsky

Spencer Knight

Scratched: Petteri Lindbohm, Noel Acciari, Joe Thornton, Lucas Carlsson, Maxim Mamin, Robert Hagg, Jonas Johansson

Injured: Markus Nutivaara (undisclosed)

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First Period:

FLA Penalty – 0:49 – Radko Gudas 2 minutes for High Sticking

FLA Penalty – 1:48 – MacKenzie Weegar 2 minutes for Delay of Game

WAS PPG – 3:48 – Tom Wilson (1) from Anthony Mantha (1) and Justin Schultz (1)

FLA Penalty – 11:42 – Ben Chiarot 2 minutes for Holding

FLA Goal – 17:55 – Sam Bennett (1) from Radko Gudas (1) and Carter Verhaeghe (1)

End of FirstWAS – 1FLA – 1
Shots169
Faceoff Wins117
Hits1128
Powerplay1/30/0
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Second Period:

FLA Goal – 0:43 – Claude Giroux (1) from Brandon Montour (1) and Jonathan Huberdeau (1)

WAS Penalty – 8:03 – Martin Fehervary 2 minutes for Holding

FLA Penalty – 13:26 – Mason Marchment 2 minutes for Unsportsmanlike Conduct

WAS Penalty – 13:26 – Anthony Mantha 2 minutes for Slashing

WAS Penalty – 15:51 – Johan Larsson 2 minutes for Slashing

End of SecondWAS – 1FLA – 2
Shots3020
Faceoff Wins2016
Hits2341
Powerplay1/30/2
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Third Period:

WAS Goal – 8:14 – Evgeny Kuznetsov (1) from Alex Ovechkin (1)

WAS Goal – 10:37 – TJ Oshie (1) from Nicklas Backstrom (1) and Dmitry Orlov (1)

WAS ENG – 19:11 – Lars Eller (1) from unassisted

FLA Penalty – 19:57 – Patric Hornqvist 2 minutes for Cross Checking

WAS Penalty – 19:57 – Nick Jensen 2 minutes for Cross Checking

End of ThirdWAS – 4FLA – 2
Shots3832
Faceoff Wins2528
Hits4356
Powerplay1/30/2
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