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Panthers storm back from 3 down in final 17 minutes to stun Capitals, snap 2-game skid

David Wilson, Miami Herald on

Published in Hockey

SUNRISE, Fla. — Sam Reinhart saw a sliver of space between Ilya Samsonov and the right pipe, and took his chance. Everything else had gone the Florida Panthers’ way in this dominant third period, so why not a shot into this minuscule window?

The Washington Capitals’ three-goal third-period lead was long gone and Reinhart made sure there was no settling for overtime in a meeting between two of the NHL’s best teams. Reinhart ripped the decisive shot into the net, flung his arms into the air and welcomed a mob of teammates to celebrate with him. The Panthers won, 5-4, on the forward’s game-winning goal with 14.4 seconds remaining.

Florida fired 25 shots at Samsonov in the final period and erased a 4-1 lead for the Capitals in the final 17 minutes.

Left wing Ryan Lomberg scored once and dished out an assist, center Eetu Luostarinen scored a shorthanded goaland forward Sam Bennett tied the game on a power play with 7:59 remaining before Reinhart provided the game-winner on another power play with less than 15 seconds to go. Star defenseman Aaron Ekblad finished with three assists, including two during the comeback.

 

It began with a one-timer from Lomberg and, finally, an eruption from the once-lifeless crowd at FLA Live Arena. The Panthers had mostly been stuck in their own end of the ice and spent most of Tuesday chasing a multi-goal lead, and Lomberg, the fan favorite and recent recipient of a two-year contract extension, injected them with life. Right wing Patric Hornqvist won the puck out of a scrum on the right doorstep and flung it across the goal mouth to Lomberg, who lunged forward to beat Samsonov with a one-timer.

Less than three minutes later, Luostarinen cut it to one when he beat Samsonov through his five hole on a short-handed breakaway and the comeback was complete less than six minutes later when Bennett redirected a power-play slap shot by Ekblad into the net.

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