SUNRISE, Fla. — Sam Reinhart scored the winning power-play goal with 14.4 seconds left, capping a furious comeback for the Florida Panthers to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Trailing 4-1, the Panthers scored four goals on a season-high 26 shots in the third period to snap a two-game skid.
Eetu Luostarinen and Ryan Lomberg each had a goal and an assist. Sam Bennett and Joe Thornton also scored goals for the Panthers. Aaron Ekblad had three assists. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 23 shots and is 8-0-0 at home.
Nick Jensen had a goal and an assist for the Capitals. Lars Eller, Beck Malenstyn and Connor McMichael also scored goals. Dmitry Orlov had two assists, and Ilya Samsonov made 45 saves.
Florida’s rally was beyond improbable. NHL teams had lost 303 consecutive games when trailing by three or more goals entering the third. The last team to pull off such a comeback was, ironically, the Capitals – who on Jan. 18, 2020, trailed the New York Islanders 4-1 entering the third and went on to win 6-4.
Lomberg’s goal at 3:23 of the third made the score 4-2. Luostarinen scored a shorthanded goal with with about six minutes left in the third to close the Panthers to 4-3. Then Bennett tipped in a shot from Aaron Ekblad that tied the score at 4 with 7:59 left before Reinhart capped the scoring.
The Capitals took a 2-0 lead when they scored two goals by McMichael and Malenstyn 11 seconds part in the first. But Thornton’s goal, an easy tap-in of a rebound, closed the score to 2-1 at 6:55 of the first.
Thornton now has 1,533 career points, tying Mark Recchi for the 12th most in NHL history.
Eller’s backhander that got past Bobrovsky stretched the Capitals‘ lead to 3-1 at 6:40 of the second, and Jensen made the score 4-1 on his shot from the high slot with 7:20 left in the second.
Barring a playoff matchup, Tuesday was the third and final meeting this season between the Panthers and Capitals – a very early end to the series. Florida hasn’t even started its season series with 17 other teams, and Washington has yet to play 12 clubs.
NOTES: Ovechkin entered the game with 378 regular-season goals on the road in his career. Only Wayne Gretzky has more (402). … This is only the third season in which the Panthers have had more than 13 wins at the end of November. The others were 1995-96 (17, in 24 games) and 1996-97 (16, in 24 games). This was Florida’s 22nd game of this season.
Capitals: Host Chicago on Thursday.
Panthers: Host Buffalo on Thursday.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.