After a loss in St. Louis which was hard to watch at times on Tuesday night, Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice said he was not worried about his team going into a huge showdown in Washington.
The Panthers most certainly came to play on Thursday night.
With the Capitals directly ahead of them in the standings — and holding the last playoff spot in the East — the Panthers brought their best.
Florida jumped all over the Caps, winning their fifth straight against Washington dating to last year’s opening-round series.
The Panthers got goals from some different cats (pun intended) as not only did Gus Forsling get Florida on the board, but Marc Staal got his first since he was wearing Detroit red and Colin White stepped out of the press box and gave his team a 3-0 lead midway through the second.
A beauty of a goal from Sasha Barkov ended up being the game winner as the Panthers let Washington back into the game with a couple of penalties late.
Now, the Panthers have to keep this up.
The team has won five of its past seven and cannot afford anything less than a frantic pace moving forward.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
Hey, did you hear the Florida Panthers beat the Capitals 6-3 on Thursday night? No one seems to be talking about it.
Anyway, if the Panthers want to make the playoffs, they may need 100 points.
They are at 62 with 24 remaining.
Don’t want to do the math? We did it for you.
- From the Washington Capitals side of things: Old habits come back to haunt the Caps in their loss to the Panthers.
- Sam Bennett was out of the lineup for the Panthers after getting hurt in the loss to St. Louis on Tuesday. No excuses tonight.
- Anthony Duclair is close to returning to the Florida lineup — but how do the Panthers make it work?
- Postgame video from Thursday night as Maurice, Staal, White and Sergei Bobrovsky spoke after the win in D.C. You can click the embedded videos below or click RIGHT HERE to see everything all in one place.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
Dylan McIlrath waited a long time to get back to the NHL and he got his chance with the Washington Capitals on Thursday against the Panthers — which happen to be one of his former teams.
McIlrath, 30, was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft but his career has not exactly gone according to plan as Thursday was just his 67th NHL game.
- Marcus Johansson left Thursday night’s game against the Panthers with a lower-body injury.
- Things aren’t going too well for the Calgary Flames these days.
- Things ARE pretty, pretty good with the Detroit Red Wings. That’s five straight wins as they pull within two points of the playoffs. Watch out.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins are back on the east coast, going from California to Long Island.
- The Boston Bruins are looking for answers on the power play.
- The Montreal Canadiens are running out of time if they want to showcase the injured Sean Monahan before the NHL Trade Deadline.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT NASHVILLE PREDATORS
- When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
- Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Sun, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5 FM-2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Florida leads 21-12-6, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Anaheim at Florida, Monday, 1 p.m.