Thursday, May 12, 2022

Verhaeghe, Panthers comeback, takes series lead against Capitals

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Panthers right winger Claude Giroux contributed a goal and an assist in Wednesday’s 5-3 win at the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla.

May 12 (News) – Carter Verhaeghe scored two goals and three assists to help the Florida Panthers come from a 3-0 deficit and beat the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Stanley Cup first round playoff series.

“I think we sort of took over in the second phase,” Verhaeghe told reporters. “We made plays, played right and put pucks in the net. That’s what happens when we play right.”

The Panthers, who have a 3-2 lead in the series, could get into the semifinals of the Eastern Conference with another win.

“We know we’re on our feet at the moment, but you can’t think too much ahead,” said Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov. “You just think about the next shift, the next game, the next period and do your best. That’s it.”

“Just get ready for the next game.”

Veteran right winger TJ Oshie lit the lamp with a 7:09 power play result in the first period to give the Capitals an early lead. Defenseman Justin Schultz doubled the Capitals’ lead with another 2-13 score in the second.

Oshie extended the lead when he defeated Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for a third time about 85 seconds later.

Verhaeghe started the rally about 3:12 later. The forward brought the puck down the right flank and sent a pass between the circles. Fellow striker Aleksander Barkov then shot into the net, but the attempt went wide of the right post. Verhaeghe cleaned the shot with a quick second try to beat Capitals goalkeeper Ilya Samsonov.

Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist made it 3-2 in the second half with another 12-27 win. Verhaeghe collected his first assist with that goal.

He also helped center Sam Reinhart to the final score 2:14 later.

Verhaeghe fought for the puck on the right boards and sent a pass behind the net to score that hit. He then sent a pass to Reinhart, who put the puck back in front of the net. Verhaeghe’s first shot was blocked, but Reinhart hit a follow-up attempt on Samsonov’s stick.

Verhaeghe scored his second goal 3:04 into the third on another assist from Barkov. He then teamed up with defender Gustav Forsling to help Giroux score the last goal of the game with 4:05 left.

Bobrovsky made a total of 30 saves for the Panthers. Samsonov made 33 stops for the Capitals.

The Capitals will host the Panthers in Game 6 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Capital One Arena in Washington. Game 6 would be Sunday in Sunrise if necessary.

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