Washington Capitals
Florida Panthers
League : NHL

Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals Prediction & Preview



Image licensed from USA Today Sports



Game 5 of the first-round best of 7 series in the Eastern Conference will be played on Wednesday between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers. Washington was defeated by Florida in Game 4 on Monday 3-2 in overtime and the series is tied at 2-2. Ilya Samsonov made 29 saves in goal for the Capitals in Monday’s loss but the Capitals could only score twice against the Panthers. T.J. Oshie scored the opening goal of the game for Washington and Evgeny Kuzentsov scored midway through the third period that gave Washiington a lead they could not hold. Florida evened the series at 2-2 thanks to an overtime goal by Carter Verhaeghe. Sam Reinhart scored with just over two minutes remaining in the third period to send the game to overtime for the Panthers before Verhaeghe’s heroics won it. Sergei Bobrovsky made just 14 saves as the Panthers defense played well limiting Washington to 16 shots on goal. The puck drops at 730pm EST.



Just 16 shots on goal

When starting Game 4 against Florida, Washington led their series 2-1 against the best team in the NHL but took only 16 shots in an overtime loss, which is a huge surprise as Alex Ovechkin scored 50 goals during the regular season and two others scored 24 goals or more, yet the Capitals were stymied by a strong Panthers defense. During the postseason, T.J. Oshie has scored a team best three goals and Ovechkin has scored just one. Niklas Backstrom and Ovechkin have four assists each to lead the Capitals and both are tied for the lead in points with five apiece.




Washington's defense has come up big during the series and the goalies are holding their own. Ilya Samsonov is 1-1 with a 1.66 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage and Vitek Vanecek is 1-1 with a 4.21 goals-against average and .863 save percentage. Although the Capitals lost on Tuesday in Game 4, Samsonov stopped 29 of 32 shots and the checking by Washington at both ends of the ice resulted in 56 hits to only 46 for Florida.

Injury Report: Tom Wilson remains sidelined with an injury and is the biggest loss for the Capitals as he had 52 points during the regular season.


What happened to the Panthers scoring?

During the regular season, Florida scored an average of 4.11 goals per game but the postseason has been a different story thus far for the Panthers. Florida is scoring an average of only 2.75 goals per game which is 12th out of the 16 teams in the postseason. The power play for Florida has gone south as the Panthers are 0-for-13 which is last amongst the 16 teams and Florida is the only team without a goal on the PP. Carter Verhaeghe, who scored the game-winning goal in Game 4, has scored three goals during the postseason to lead Florida. Aaron Ekblad has three assists to lead the Panthers and Verhaeghe has five points to lead Florida.




Sergei Bobrovsky made only 14 saves during Game 4, but five were classified as high danger saves. The biggest stop for Bobrovsky was on a breakaway by Marcus Johansson late in the third period that saved the game and sent it to overtime where the Panthers won. During the regular season, Bobrovsky’s 39 wins established a new record for the Panthers. Bobrovsky is 2-2 with a 2.72 goals against average and .900 save percentage.

Injury Report: Markus Nutivaara has a lower body injury and will not play.

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