Panthers snap Capitals' winning streak
Apr 1, 2019
Roberto Luongo -- three days short of his 40th birthday -- made 27 saves as the host Florida Panthers held on in a wild finish to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Monday night.
Washington scored three goals -- by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom and Jakub Vrana -- in the final 10 minutes to cut into what had been a 4-0 deficit.
Vrana scored with 2:21 left to make it 4-3, and the Capitals then pulled rookie backup goalie Pheonix Copley for an extra attacker. However, Florida escaped when Vincent Trocheck scored an empty-net goal with 27 seconds left, his second tally of the night.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals (47-25-8, 102 points) had their four-game win streak snapped. They have already clinched a playoff berth and lead the Metropolitan Division by three points with two games left in the regular season.
Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had three assists. He boosted his point total to 94, tying Pavel Bure's franchise record for a single season, set in 1999-2000.
Florida (36-32-12, 84 points) also got goals from Frank Vatrano, Jonathan Huberdeau and Troy Brouwer.
Huberdeau's goal was his 28th of the season, one more than his previous best, which came last year. Trocheck's first goal, which came short-handed, was the 100th of his career.
Florida had just one short-handed goal in its first 78 games, but the Panthers have two such scores in the past two contests.
Luongo (18-16-4) won his third straight start for the Panthers, who were eliminated from playoff contention last week but have been hot of late. Florida extended its winning streak to three games.
The Panthers swept their three games against Washington this season, beating the Capitals 6-5 in a shootout on Oct. 19 and 5-4 in overtime on Feb. 9, both times in the nation's capital.
Florida opened the scoring with a rather fortuitous goal with 6:12 left in the first period. First, the puck bounced off a referee. Then, Florida's Colton Sceviour used his left skate to kick the puck from behind the net to Vatrano, who scored from the slot with a high shot past Copley's glove.
The Panthers extended their lead to 2-0 on Huberdeau's goal with 16:26 remaining in the second.
Florida made it 3-0 on Trocheck's short-handed goal with 7:59 left in the second.
The Panthers made it 4-0 with 2:03 left in the second. Brouwer, who scored 83 goals in four years with the Capitals, scored against his former team.
Washington then made its run, but Florida escaped.
--Field Level Media