T.J. Oshie admitted that the Washington Capitals were “pissed off” after blowing a 3-0 lead and surrendering five unanswered goals in a disappointing Game 5 loss to the Florida Panthers on Wednesday that has them on the brink of elimination going back to D.C. However, once the alarms went off on Thursday morning, that disappointment had to be gone.
Oshie stressed the importance of moving on quickly from the loss as the Capitals head back to the District with their backs against the walls.
“We’ve got to shake this one off. I think we’re still showing ourselves how we have to play and creating chances, creating offense, keeping their offense in check. We keep getting away from it,” Oshie said bluntly. “We’ve got to reset here. Obviously you don’t want to be down 3-2, especially when we felt like we had a chance to go up 3-1 in the last game. You just got to regroup.”
Looking back at what went wrong, Oshie said a lot played into a complete collapse that turned what seemed to be a surefire victory into a cutthroat defeat. At the near halfway mark of the second period, Washington was up by three and holding the Cats at bay. The team was playing smart, maintaining possession and driving offense with plenty of security. Then, things fell apart — and fast. The team let Florida tilt the ice and even the score with three goals in a matter of minutes in the second, and the team then added two more in the third en route to a 5-3 win.
“We got caught on a couple mistakes of us not making the right play,” Oshie, who had a tough neutral zone turnover that led to the Panthers’ first goal of the game, said. “Kind of making either a hope-for or leaving the position that I know we’re not supposed to leave… kind of shot ourselves in the foot here. They’re a great team, can’t give them offense. They’re going to find a way to create something on their own.
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“Giving up a three-goal lead, I don’t know how many times we’ve done that this year,” No. 77 added. “In the playoffs, it should be easier to keep playing the same way and getting pucks deep and all that. But yeah. This swings momentum. They’re tough in a game. When it’s on your side, you’ve got to try and keep it and not give them momentum. Make them earn it.”
As the series returns to Capital One Arena on Friday, Washington must pull off a win in Game 6 to keep its season alive. The group is no stranger to the situation from either side. The team has seen three consecutive first-round exits, unable to keep their season alive in elimination games. But, back in 2018, the Capitals were on the brink while heading back home from Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Oshie and Washington pulled off a win to force Game 7. The Capitals then won that game to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they won their first-ever title.
There are nine members of that Cup-winning club still on the roster. Oshie said that experience is something the team is trying to feed off of going back home.
“We’ve got a veteran group in there,” Oshie said. “A bunch of guys with a lot of great character.”
Oshie will also look to continue playing a vital role in the series. He has been stellar for his club, dishing a team-leading five goals through five games and adding an assist to boot.
Washington will host Florida at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday for Game 6. This is the first series since 2019 that has gone beyond five games.