On Friday night, Carter Verhaeghe scored 2:46 into overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 series-clinching victory over the Washington Capitals.
The Panthers win the series in six games, 4-2, and now move onto the Eastern Conference semifinal round, where they’ll face either the Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida’s Claude Giroux led the way, finishing with three points on the night. Giroux tied the game at 2-2 near the midway point of the third period before assisting on both Aleksander Barkov’s third-period go-ahead goal and Verhaeghe’s overtime winner.
Panthers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves off 37 shots and helped kill off 1 of 4 Washington powerplays.
After a scoreless first period, the Capitals and Panthers traded goals in the second period and sat tied 1-1 heading into the third.
Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:37 into the third period to give the Capitals the lead before Giroux tied things up at 8:18. The Panthers thought they had the game-winner when Barkov scored at 14:17 to make it 3-2, but Washington’s T.J. Oshie tapped home a powerplay goal with just over a minute to go to send things to overtime.
Despite allowing the tying goal late, the Panthers wasted little time getting the OT winner, sending the Capitals home for the season.
The Panthers will play the winner of Saturday’s Game 7 between the Maple Leafs and Lightning in the next round.