WASHINGTON (AP) – Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal, two assists and the shootout winner as the Florida Panthers recovered after giving up a three-goal lead in the second period and beat the Washington Capitals 6-5 on Friday night for their first victory of the season.
In a wacky, back-and-forth game, Florida coughed up a 4-1 advantage and allowed the tying goal with 1:25 left. The Panthers couldn’t score in overtime despite a power play but celebrated a win for the first time this season in their fifth game after Huberdeau beat Copley in the fourth round of the shootout.
Vincent Trocheck also had a goal and two assists and scored in the shootout for the Panthers. Backup goaltender Michael Hutchinson stopped 10 of the 11 shots he faced in regulation and overtime and made a couple of more saves in the shootout after replacing starter James Reimer.
Evgenii Dadonov, Colton Sceviour and Jared McCann also scored for the Panthers, who chased Stanley Cup winning goalie Braden Holtby with four goals on 11 shots. Holtby was hardly to blame as the victim of a handful of inexplicable mistakes and turnovers by his teammates.
Florida, which rallied from a big deficit earlier in the week to pick up a point in a shootout loss at Philadelphia, was on the other side of a comeback this time.
A dominant first period gave way to a disastrous second that ended Reimer’s night with four goals on 20 shots. Following John Carlson’s early goal, the Capitals tied it in the second period when Brett Connolly, Jakub Vrana and Devante Smith-Pelly scored in a span of less than 12 minutes.
Huberdeau put the Panthers up with a 5-on-3 power-play goal late in the second period, and the Panthers clung to a 5-4 advantage in the third. Nicklas Backstrom tied it at 6-on-4 with backup Pheonix Copley pulled for an extra attacker and Washington on the power play.
NOTES: Copley stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced. … Panthers D Mark Pysyk left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Alex Ovechkin and did not return. … Coach Bob Boughner moved F Mike Hoffman down to the fourth line, citing lineup balance as his reasoning. … F Dmitrij Jaskin returned to the Capitals’ lineup, replacing Nathan Walker.
Panthers: Get defenseman Mike Matheson back from his two-game suspension when they return home to face the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.
Capitals: Begin a three-game Western Canadian road trip at the Vancouver Canucks on Monday before visiting Edmonton and Calgary.
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