It’s over. Panthers beat Capitals 4-3 in overtime.

It’s over.  Panthers beat Capitals 4-3 in overtime.

The Washington Capitals have fallen to the Florida Panthers. The Capitals took the lead twice in Game Six but turned down multiple opportunities to either protect or extend those leads.

The Caps struck first: Nic Dowd dove to take a shot at the rush. The Panthers equalized against Ryan Lomberg less than three minutes later.

Early in the third period, Nicklas deflected Backstrom to give Washington the second lead of the evening, which was wiped away seven minutes later when Claude Giroux scored on the offensive.

With five minutes and forty-three seconds left in the game, Aleksandr Barkov got a layup to set up the Panthers. The Capitals were 63 seconds from elimination when Anthony Mantha and TJ Oshie played ping pong in the crease to level the game and force overtime.

Carter Verhæge won it in overtime.

lose caps. Florida wins the series four games to two.

  • The Capitals started the game physically, scoring a ton of hits early on. I won’t give you the number because I don’t trust statkeepers on hits, but I’m reminded of an aphorism: Violence is not the answer. violence is the issue. And the answer is Yes.
  • I think in the context of their aggressive play in the first half, the Caps certainly controlled the puck well. But after the break, they ran out of gas a bit when the flow of the game became uncomfortably tighter. it became less like game one and more like game five.
  • Alex Ovechkin led the Caps with hits early in the game, including a monster hit on Aaron Ekblad, who left the game briefly but returned. But Ovechkin didn’t get a single shot on target until the third period when the Panthers really held on defensively.
  • I made a point of announcing the fourth line earlier this week, so I’m particularly relieved about that Nick Dowd must be the hero for a moment. Dowd hit with his own rebound and seemed to think his original shot went in – watch him celebrate briefly before the actual goal is scored here.
  • Dowd also rang the post just before Barkov got the go-ahead for Florida.
  • Martin Fehervary and John Carlson bad defensive decisions made on the Lomberg goal. I definitely wish they could slow down a bit, especially when the caps are protecting a lead. Incidentally, Lomberg stepped into the line-up for Anthony Duclair, who surprisingly scratched. I guess Duclair is hurt; I can’t imagine drawing a top scorer of 30 goals otherwise.
  • Ilya Samsonov That streak was wonderful, but failing to stop Claude Giroux’s relatively easy shot as he leveled up in the third goal drained in a way I haven’t felt since Michal Neuvirth in the 2011 playoffs.
  • With his decisive goal in the third third TJ Oshie scored his sixth goal in a row. He’s a killer. I loved Ovechkin’s celebration.

We love Walton, but get well soon, Joe B.

That was a very tough series – and a very tough season. The Washington Capitals surpassed expectations, but one can’t help feeling that they ended up short in the tank. They’re an older squad struggling to stay mobile. They have impressive offensive weapons, but with those weapons come defensive weaknesses that teams like Florida are willing to exploit.

A team’s perspectives can change so quickly in this league. Remember how drab Florida looked in 2018? But the path from here—Washington’s fourth straight first-round elimination—to real competition isn’t clear to me. Within the organization, I’m no longer sure what the expectations are of this team. Are they the regular season fan club where Ovi just scores more goals?

I don’t know, and I’m obviously a grump, so let me end on a few positive notes. This playoff series was infinitely better than the last two Washington has offered. Even if they lose, they have a lot to be proud of. They came damn close to pushing the President’s Trophy winners over the edge.

Thank you for reading RMNB. You know by now that we’re not going anywhere. We have at least four games seven (commonly known as “gays sev”) this weekend so stay here and let’s watch, I don’t know how either the Rangers or the Penguins will be heart broken. That’ll cheer us up, won’t it?

Headline Photo: Pennybacker

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