The Washington Capitals fell to the Florida Panthers. The Capitals took the lead twice in Game 6, but turned down multiple opportunities to protect or extend those leads.
The Caps struck first: Nic Dowd dived for a chance. The Panthers tied the game less than three minutes later against Ryan Lomberg.
Early in the third, Nicklas Backstrom executed an expert deflection to give Washington its second lead of the night, which evaporated seven minutes later when Claude Giroux scored on the run.
With five minutes and forty-three seconds left in the game, Aleksandr Barkov earned a layup to put the Panthers in place. The Capitals were 63 seconds from elimination when Anthony Mantha and TJ Oshie played ping-pong in the slot to tie the game and force overtime.
Carter Verhæge won it in overtime.
Caps lose. Florida wins the series four games to two.
- The Capitals started the game on a physical note, leveling a ton of hits early on. I’m not going to quote you the number because I don’t trust statkeepers on hits, but I remember an aphorism: Violence is not the answer. Violence is the issue. And the answer is Yes.
- Related, I think, to their aggressive play in the first period, the Caps definitely controlled the puck well. But they ran out of gas a bit after intermission, when the flow of the game tightened to an uncomfortable degree. it became less like Game 1, more like Game 5.
- Alex Ovechkin led the Caps in hits early in the game, including a monster hit on Aaron Ekblad, who briefly left the game but returned. But Ovechkin didn’t get a single shot on goal until the third period as the Panthers really locked down defensively.
- I made a point of bragging about the fourth line earlier this week, so I’m very relieved that Nic Dowd got to be the hero for a while. Dowd scored on his own rebound, and he seemed to think his initial shot went in – watch him celebrate briefly before scoring the actual goal here.
Hell of an effort from Dowd who hits the iron, then scores his own rebound to put the Caps up 1-0 pic.twitter.com/t5qQ9dvMHV
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 14, 2022
- Dowd also rang the post just before Barkov scored the go-ahead goal for Florida.
- Martin Fehervary and John Carlson made poor defensive decisions on Lomberg’s goal. Of course I wish they could pack down a bit, especially when the Caps are protecting a track. Lomberg, by the way, came into the roster of Anthony Duclair, who was a surprise scratch. I guess Duclair is injured; I can’t imagine shooting a scorer from thirty goals otherwise.
- Ilya Samsonov It was wonderful this series, but not being able to stop that relatively easy shot from Claude Giroux as a goal in the third was deflated in a way I haven’t felt since Michal Neuvirth in the 2011 playoffs.
- With his tying goal in the third period, TJ Oshie scored his sixth goal of the series. He’s a killer. I loved Ovechkin’s celebration.
We love Walton, but get well soon, Joe B.
— Good Tweet Pete 🌮 (@peterhassett) May 13, 2022
It was a very difficult series – and a very difficult season. The Washington Capitals exceeded expectations, but it’s hard to avoid feeling like they didn’t have much left in the tank at the end. They are older and find it difficult to stay mobile. They have impressive offensive weapons, but with those weapons come defensive weaknesses that teams like Florida easily exploit.
A team’s outlook can change so quickly in this league. Do you remember how dreary Florida was in 2018? But the path from here — Washington’s fourth consecutive first-round elimination — to true assertion is unclear to me. Within the organization, I no longer know what the expectations are of this team. Are they the ‘just get more goals for Ovi’ regular season fan club?
I don’t know, and I’m obviously grumpy, so let me end on some positive notes. This playoff was infinitely better than the last two offered by Washington. Even in case of defeat, they have something to be proud of. They came very close to pushing the winners of the President’s Trophy to the brink.
Thanks for reading RMNB. Now you know we’re not going anywhere. We’ve got at least four game sevens (universally known as “gay sevs”) this weekend, so stick around and watch, I don’t know, as either the Rangers or the Penguins get their hands broken. heart. It’ll cheer us up, right?
Main photo: pennybacker