The Comeback Cats strike again to tie series at 2-2
The Florida Panthers twice came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 in overtime, tying the series at 2-2.
Heading into the contest trailing 2-1, and playing on Washington's home ice, the Panthers were put on the back foot early after T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in the first period.
Carter Verhaeghe tied things up less than 10 minutes later, before Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Capitals back in front in the third period off an assist from legendary teammate Alex Ovechkin.
With just over two minutes to play, Sam Reinhart tied it at 2-2 to force an extra period, where Verhaeghe would slot the winner five minutes in to steal the game on the road.
Speaking to post-game media, two-goal hero Verhaeghe said the result adds to the belief of what this team – dubbed the 'Comeback Cats' – can accomplish.
"We wanted to come in and have our best game of the series, and I think we did a pretty good job," he said.
"It’s just kind of a building block. We know we have another level to get to, and we’re a great team, so I think it’s just building some confidence."
Fellow goal-scorer Reinhart added that the backs-to-the-wall nature of the battle was everything he enjoyed as a competitor.
"Those are the kind of situations you want to be in as a hockey player," he said. "It’s a game that can really go either way at the end of it – we stuck with it, and we’re happy with the result."
Washington's Ovechkin – a three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner for league MVP – was clear about the next course of action, and not overreacting to a painful loss.
"At the end, it was bad bounces and it goes in," he said. "It is going to be a tough, long series, so move on. Forget about it, move on."
It was much smoother sailing for the Colorado Avalanche, beating the Nashville Predators 5-3 to sweep their series 4-0. J.T Compher and Cale Makar both collected a pair of assists each for the Avalanche.
The Pittsburgh Penguins received a vintage performance from future Hall-of-Famer Sydney Crosby as he slotted one goal and dished two assists in his side's 7-2 win against the New York Rangers, taking a 3-1 series lead in the process.
Lastly, the Calgary Flames won a crucial Game 4 on the road against the Dallas Stars 4-1 to tie their series at 2-2, despite Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger making 50 saves.