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Panthers beat Caps in OT, win 1st playoff series since 1996

WASHINGTON – On the fallacious facet of a comeback effort this time, the Florida Panthers rebounded in additional time and made certain they wouldn’t want to pass domestic to complete their first-round sequence.

Carter Verhaeghe scored the OT winner to ship the Panthers to the second one around by means of beating the Washington Capitals 4-3 in Game 6 Friday night time. It’s the franchise’s first playoff sequence victory since 1996 when Florida reached the Stanley Cup Final.

The Panthers are nonetheless 8 wins from getting again to the overall, however they’re going to have home-ice merit for his or her subsequent sequence in opposition to both the cross-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning or the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Florida seemed to be at the verge of a legislation victory when Gustav Forsling tripped Nicklas Backstrom with 1:09 left within the 3rd length. T.J. Oshie scored 6 seconds into the Washington energy play to ship the sellout crowd of over 18,000 right into a frenzy.

Those lovers have been silent after Verhaeghe scored his 6th objective of the sequence 2:46 into additional time. Verhaeghe, Florida’s main scorer within the sequence, neglected the morning skate and was once regarded as a game-time determination.

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Trade-deadline acquisition Claude Giroux and captain Aleksander Barkov scored within the 3rd length to position the Panthers forward. Ryan Lomberg scored Florida’s first objective, tying it 2:29 after Nic Dowd were given the Capitals at the board.

Lomberg scoring validated meantime trainer Andrew Brunette’s determination to insert him into the lineup rather than Anthony Duclair, who scored 31 objectives all through the common season however had only one shot on objective thus far within the sequence. The Panthers want offense anywhere they may be able to get it after once more failing to attain at the energy play and increasing their drought to 0 of 18 within the sequence.

Their most up-to-date sequence win got here June 1, 1996, once they beat Pittsburgh in Game 7 to advance to the overall. The Panthers were given swept by means of Colorado, beginning what would start a 26-year wait between sequence victories.

Other than the growth Seattle Kraken, each and every different NHL franchise had received a minimum of two sequence all through that span. Detroit received 27, Pittsburgh 24, Tampa Bay 22 and Colorado received 20. Florida stored ready and ready for only one, till Friday.

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The Capitals have now not received a playoff sequence since hoisting the Cup in 2018 and were given knocked out within the first around at domestic for the 3rd time in that span.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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