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2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs

SEASON OVER: Oshie’s Heroics Not Enough, Panthers Finish Off Capitals

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Capitals Panthers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Capitals’ season is over.

With just 1:03 left in regulation, the team’s year appeared to be said and done after a late goal for Aleksander Barkov. However, T.J. Oshie said “not so fast” and forced overtime, but it wasn’t enough, as no other than Carter Verhaeghe scored the OT winner from in tight.

Florida won 4-3, and the series, 4-2. The Panthers will advance to Round Two, and Washington will pack up for the season.

Here are all the takeaways from the season-ending defeat:

Capitals Bring Boom Early, Pile On Physicality

Washington was on a mission to set the tone early in Game 6, and did exactly that to get the juices flowing with its back against the wall. The Capitals piled on the physicality, and leading the way was captain Alex Ovechkin, who opened the game with a massive check that sent Aaron Ekblad flying.

That physicality not only gave the team some energy but also helped when it came to shutting down the Panthers’ top players and winning puck battles.

By the end of the opening frame, Washington was outhitting Florida 26-11, with Ovechkin dishing a team-leading four of his own. Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway and Martin Fehervary also had three hits apiece.

T.J. Oshie Plays Hero To Force OT, But Not Enough For Win

The Capitals season appeared minutes away from ending, but Oshie wouldn’t let it end that easily.

Washington headed to a power play with just over a minute to go in regulation time, and right off the face-off, crash the net. He used his brilliant hand-eye coordination to deflect the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 3-3 and temporarily keep the season alive.

The goal, which came with 1:03 remaining in the third, was Oshie’s team-leading sixth of the postseason. It also marked his fourth straight game with a goal.

Capitals Get Scoring From Down The Lineup, But Not Enough

The Capitals got scoring where they needed it: from down the lineup, beyond just Oshie.

After a scoreless first, Dowd Washington on the board in the second, as Nic Dowd capitalized on his own rebound to make it 1-0 early in the frame. It marked his first goal of the postseason, with Garnet Hathaway and Johan Larsson dishing the helpers.

Then, in the third, with the game tied 1-1, Nicklas Backstrom tipped Justin Schultz’s point shot past Sergei Bobrovsky to make it 2-1. Backstrom picked up points in five of six playoff games this season.

Anthony Mantha also chipped in his fourth assist of the postseason, while Evgeny Kuznetsov added his fourth point in his last three games. Schultz also dished points in back-to-back games, and Trevor van Riemsdyk had a helper to boot.

Capitals Blow Lead Again, Lost Battles Sink Team

This marked the third striaght game where Washington was leading and blew a lead, and the Capitals did so twice on the night.

When it came to what went wrong, the team’s neutral zone play proved costly in the defeat, along with odd-man rushes. That ultimately helped the Panthers even the score on two occasions, as Ryan Lomberg cashed in on a rebound in the second and Claude Giroux made the most of open time and space to make it 2-2 in the third.

Then, a late goal against from Aleksander Barkov alone in front was almost the final nail in the coffin, and the eventual OT winner came after a lost battle along the boards and Verhaeghe being left alone in front.

Samsonov Comes Up With Some Big Stops, But Rebounds Costly

Ilya Samsonov came up with quite a few big saves to keep the Capitals in it, including a surefire goal for the always-dangerous Verhaeghe in the second, but rebounds proved to cost the 25-year-old netminder and Washington.

Verhaeghe’s OT winner came off a play he didn’t have much control over, though, as he was left alone in front and dished a backhander in for the GWG and his 12th point of the series.

Samsonov struggled with rebound control on the night, and couldn’t hold down the fort until the end. He ended the night with 27 saves on 31 shots (.871 save percentage).

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Dowd played his heart out, registering three shots and five hits and putting up one of his best games of the season.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t register a shot on goal until the third period.
  • Connor McMichael skated just 3:20 minutes.
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