The Florida Panthers lacked attention in Game 1, while the Washington Capitals failed to meet their standards in Game 2.
Bottom line: The teams drew 1-1 in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs among the top seven, and the scene moved to Washington, D.C., on Saturday afternoon for Game 3.
A key challenge for the Capitals is the continued absence of forward Tom Wilson, who will miss his second game in a row due to a lower body injury sustained earlier in the series.
The Capitals won for the first time in the series with a score of 4-2, and on Thursday lost with a score of 5-1, and yet do not seem to have gone the way. Alex Ovechkin of Washington, one of the most productive in NHL history, did not score in two games with two assists.
But Ovechkin showed his activity, nine shots on goal and 10 shots.
Eugene Kuznetsov, who is second in the regular season “Capy” with 78 points, has two goals in two games and no assists. John Carlson, third with 71 points, has no goals and one assist.
“The price in the Stanley Cup playoffs is small,” said Caps forward Niklas Backstrom. “We need to be a little sharper. We have to take care of the puck. In general, we need to work better. “
Washington is changing its goals. Vitek Vanecek won the first game, slowing down the team with the highest score in the NHL. But in the second game on Thursday Vanecek conceded five goals in two periods and was drawn.
Ilya Samsonov stopped all 17 shots he faced in the third period and received a nod from coach Peter Laviallet to start on Saturday.
Aside from Samsonov’s performance, Laviallet was not happy with how the Capitals finished the game on Thursday.
“I thought we did everything right in the first period, but we were 2-0 behind,” Lavialet said. “But then (the Panthers) scored the third and fourth goals, and our game unfolded. We didn’t do anything in the third period. “
This season, the Capitals were a better away team (25-10-6) than at home (19-16-6), which is surprising when the series moves to Washington.
The Panthers dominated at home (34-7-0) and firmly away (24-11-6), leading to the President’s Cup as the NHL’s best team in the regular season.
Florida beats teams with its speed and depth. The Panthers scored several goals, and that was evident on Thursday when they opened a tight game with three goals in a row in the second period of Mason Marchment, Anton Lundel and Carter Verhe. They also scored early goals from Aaron Ekblad and Alexander Barkov.
Like Ovechkin’s slow start to the playoffs, Panthers star Jonathan Guberdo has not scored a single goal and only one assist in the series.
During the regular season, Hubert led the Panthers with 115 points. Barkov became the next closest to the Panthers with 88 points. Huberdo also led the NHL with 85 assists.
Panthers coach Andrew Brunett doesn’t seem to care about Hubert, he’s focused on the team as a whole.
“A few nights ago (in the beginning) it was not a lack of effort,” said Brunette. “It was more attention.
“(Thursday) we shredded it and it will become a building block for our group.”
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