Verhaeghe, Panthers rally for OT victory against Capitals in Game 4

WASHINGTON – Carter Verhaeghe scored his second goal at 4:57 of overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Capital One Arena on Monday.

Verhaeghe’s initial attempt was saved by the right pad of Ilya Samsonovbut the rebound kicked out to the forward for a shot from the left circle.

The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2. Game 5 will be in Sunrise, Florida, on Wednesday.

“It was great,” Verhaeghe said. “I’m just happy we won the game and we can go back home in front of our home fans and compete again with the series tied. It’s a best-of-3 now. We have home-ice advantage again, so that’s the thing I think about most. “

[RELATED: Complete Panthers vs. Capitals series coverage]

Sam Reinhart scored late in the third period to force overtime, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 14 saves for the Panthers, who are the No. 1 seed from the Atlantic Division and won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL team with the best regular-season record.

“I thought that was our best effort. It looked like our team,” Florida coach Andrew Brunette said. “I thought we really executed with the puck. We had the puck, we didnt just give it away. I think we’re building here a little bit, and that was a good step for us.”

TJ Oshie had a goal and an assist, and Samsonov made 29 saves for the Capitals, who are the second wild card from the East.

“In third period, it was in our hands,” Washington forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “We’re going to play best-of-3 right now. There is no panic. Still have a pretty good chance.”

Video: FLA @ WSH, Gm4: Verhaeghe buries own rebound for OT win

Kuznetsov gave Washington a 2-1 lead at 9:31 of the third period. After Oshie caused a turnover in the neutral zone with a hit on Sam BennettKuznetsov skated in on a breakaway, waited out Bobrovsky, and roofed a shot from near the left post.

“That’s a big play,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s one of those plays that we have to be patient and wait for those. It’s not going to happen every game and not going to happen every period. But in terms of ‘Osh,’ he’s a big player for us and… it’s always nice to have him on the ice. “

Reinhart tied it 2-2 at 17:56 with Bobrovsky pulled for the extra skater. Jonathan Huberdeau‘s pass deflected off Capitals forward Garnet Hathawayand Reinhart knocked down the loose puck in the slot and shot it in off the right post.

“There’s not much room out there to begin with, and they’re a team, they get the lead and it’s tough to come back,” Reinhart said. “It’s tough to find that room, especially when they’re defending that much harder trying to protect it. We were able to stick with it, and we got a bounce at the end. It’s a game of inches, and tonight proved it. “

Video: FLA @ WSH, Gm4: Reinhart buries equalizer late in 3rd

Oshie put the Capitals in front 1-0 at 7:15 of the first period when John Carlson‘s one-timer deflected in off him as he was jumping out of the way on the power play.

Verhaeghe tied it 1-1 at 14:08, converting a pass from Aaron Ekblad on a 2-on-1 with the teams skating 4-on-4.

“The first half of the game was kind of mucked up by power plays and penalty kills and there wasn’t a lot of 5-on-5 time. Not many 5-on-5 chances,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “We gave up a little bit too much 4-on-4, but we pushed in the third period and got it to where we wanted.”

NOTES: Huberdeau has 19 career playoff points (five goals, 14 assists), passing Ray Sheppard for the most in Panthers history. Ha Verhaeghe became the fourth player in Panthers history to score a playoff overtime goal, joining Mike Hough, Dave Lowry, and Ryan Lomberg. … Florida is 4-8 in playoff overtime games. Washington is 33-42.

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