Miami Sports Day

NHL: Panthers Fall to Capitals as Oshie Scores Twice

WASHINGTON – T.J. Oshie scored twice, Alex Ovechkin added a goal and an assist and Washington scored three third-period goals to rally past the Florida Panthers 4-2 on Saturday night for its fifth straight win.

The Capitals trailed 2-1 in the third period before Ovechkin and Oshie scored 2:16 apart. Lars Eller provided an insurance goal from the slot with 6:33 remaining.

“I liked our response once they made it 2-1,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. “We got great contributions through the lineup. We got some dirty goals. Guys in front of the net. Ovi’s goal, Lars’ goal. All the good things. We didn’t give up too much.”

In their two previous games, the Capitals surrendered two- and three-goal leads before winning late and in overtime.

On Saturday, they turned it around much quicker. Ovechkin tied the score at 8:42 of the third when he redirected Brooks Orpik’s shot from the point past Roberto Luongo for his seventh goal of the season.

“We have to have traffic in front of those guys,” said Ovechkin, who has five points in his last two games.

“All the goalies right now are playing well. If they see the puck, probably they’re going to stop it. If we put a big body in front, more chance of a deflection or they don’t see it.”

Oshie made it 3-2 with 9:02 left to play when he beat the defenseman, came in on Luongo’s left and fired over the goalie’s shoulder for his sixth goal of the season and third in his last two games.

Reilly Smith gave Florida the lead with a power-play goal at 2:32 of the third. He accepted a long cross-ice pass from Vincent Trocheck, got behind defenseman Matt Niskanen and backhanded the puck past Braden Holtby.

“Things were looking good for our hockey team then we fell apart.” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. “We made some dumb mistakes. We opened up the ice for them and they’re a team that’s going to capitalize on any mistakes.”

Jared McCann also scored for Florida (5-6-1) and Luongo made 32 saves.

“As a team we need to pick up each other and tonight we completely left Lu alone there and he made so many big saves to keep us in it,” Jonathan Marchessault said. “If it wasn’t for him, it would have been 9-2.”

Holtby stopped 22 shots for Washington (8-2-1) and Nate Schmidt had two assists.

Florida’s Jaromir Jagr left the game late in the first period and did not return. Gallant said Jagr had cramping in his groin and was too sore to return. Jagr is day-to-day.

McCann, acquired in a trade with Vancouver in May, scored his first point as a Panther when he deflected Alex Petrovic’s centering attempt past Holtby at 5:17 of the first period.

It was just the second time this season the Capitals didn’t score first.

With Washington on a power play early in the second, Luongo made a big glove save on Ovechkin to maintain the lead, but the Capitals outshot the Panthers 18-4 in the period and tied it at the 10:40 mark.

Florida defenseman Jason Demers fell in the Washington zone and Ovechkin broke out 2-on-1 with Oshie. Ovechkin eventually drew the defender and passed across to Oshie, whose shot banged off the near post and in.

Luongo made another standout glove save, this on a rebound attempt in front by Nicklas Backstrom, late in the period and the score was tied after two.

“He was outstanding.” Gallant said of Luongo. “Second period he probably made five unbelievable saves to keep it close.”

GAME NOTES: The Capitals had killed off 13 straight penalties before Reilly Smith’s power-play goal in the third period. … Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin is 23 points shy of 1,000 for his career. He’s three power-play goals from becoming the 18th player to score 200. … Washington’s Daniel Winnik was in the lineup and Brett Connolly and Taylor Chorney were scratched. … Panthers winger Jaromir Jagr is 10 games from tying Chris Chelios for fifth all time (1,651). … Florida scratches included  Steve Kamper and  Shawn Thornton. … The teams’ third and final meeting doesn’t take place until April 9. That is the final game of the regular season for each team

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