The Panthers in a precarious position

The Florida Panthers led the standings last season but are in an unfavorable position in the first round of the playoffs as the Washington Capitals now lead the series 2-1.

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Buoyed by six unanswered goals at the end of the first period, the Capitals won 6-1 in Washington on Saturday afternoon.

“They put a lot of pressure on themselves and we try to relieve it. You have to get through. I understand, but they have to find a way to break free. Maybe the humiliation will relax us,” head coach Andrew Brunette said at a news conference.

Quebec’s Jonathan Huberdeau opened the scoring for the Panthers thanks to a powerful shot in the third minute of the game.

The Florida team, which posted a regular-season record of 58-18-6, showed indiscipline and a lack of opportunism in the numerical superiority. Since the beginning of the series against the Capitals, they have failed to score nine times under the circumstances. Last season, the Panthers still had a success rate of 24.4% in the majority game.

“We are much better [que ça]. We have to get to game number 4 and be the best team,” Huberdeau said.

An important goal by Ovechkin

After TJ Oshie, late in the first period, Marcus Johansson and Trevor van Riemsdyk were the Capitals’ top scorers in the second period. Tsar Alexander Ovechkin then scored a big goal on the power play in the third period while Huberdeau was in the dungeon. It was Ovechkin’s first goal of the series, his 72nd in the playoffs. John Carlson, in an empty net, and Garnet Hathaway, late in the game, completed the goal.

“We know they will come back strong in Game 4. We didn’t play the whole game with a 6-1 lead, we had to push and create those chances and the goals came in the end. It won’t be any different in Game 4,” Oshie explained.

“This game if we don’t confirm it will be our fault. We have to think about it immediately,” added coach Peter Laviolette.

After starting at the net for the Capitals, Ilya Samsonov saved 29 of 30 pucks aimed at him to enjoy his first career playoff win. Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves for the Panthers.

Game 4 will take place again in Washington on Monday night. The Panthers will logically want to do whatever it takes to create equality on the show, starting with more discipline.

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