WASHINGTON, D.C. — After playing crucial roles in both Game 4 and 5, Carter Verhaeghe may be out of the lineup as the Florida Panthers look to close out their first-round series with the Washington Capitals.
Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said that Verhaeghe will be a game-time decision due to an injury he suffered on Thursday which was a travel day.
“It was something that happened yesterday and hopefully he will be ready to go,” Brunette said.
Verhaeghe was a huge reason why the Panthers won the last two games of the series.
In Game 4, he scored both the opening goal and the overtime goal to tie the series up at two games apiece.
Then, in Game 5, he had a hand in all five Florida goals as they came back from a 3-0 hole to take the series lead.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Sam Bennett said. “He’s really elevated his game here in the playoffs. When he is skating and being dynamic he is a huge threat out there, so it is huge for him to step up like that.”
Verhaeghe leads players on both the Panthers and the Capitals in goals (five) and points (10) throughout the first round of the playoffs.
He also set the record for most goals in a playoff round in Panthers history with his two goals on Thursday night.
“He has been the best player on the ice,” Patric Hornqvist said.
“He [has] speed and gets the puck to the net. He makes it hard for their defense. That is what we need him to do, and he has been stepping up huge for us. The goals tonight could not have come at a better time.”
With Verhaeghe’s status in question, Florida’s quest to lock this series up with a Game 6 win on the road got a whole lot tougher.
“If he is out, it will definitely be tough with how well he has been playing,” Noel Acciari said.
“But I think this whole season we’ve had this next man up mentality and with all of the career years guys have had it could be anyone’s night any night and that’s what makes this group special. But we hope he plays.”
Morning Skate Updates
- Mason Marchment did not travel with the team to Washington after missing Game 5 with what Brunette called a lower-body injury.
- Acciari and Maxim Mamin skated on the third line with Anton Lundell during morning skate.
- Ryan Lomberg will take Verhaeghe’s spot in the lineup if he is unfit to play.
- Sergei Bobrovsky will start in net for the Panthers, Ilya Samsonov will start for the Capitals.
- Despite skating this morning, Tom Wilson remains out of Washington’s lineup with a lower-body injury.
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
PANTHERS V. CAPITALS (FLA leads 3-2)
- Game 6: Friday, 7:30
- Where: Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, TBS
- Radio: WQAM 560 (Miami/Fort Lauderdale); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
PANTHERS V. CAPITALS
- Regular season series — Florida won 2-1: @Florida 5, Washington 4 OT (Nov. 4); @Washington 4, Panthers 3 (Nov. 26); @Florida 5, Washington 4 (Nov. 30)
- All-time regular season series: Capitals lead 67-44-11, 9 ties
- Playoff history: First meeting
- First-round schedule — Game 1: Washington 4, @Florida 2; Game 2: @Florida 5, Washington 1; Game 3: @Washington 6, Florida 1; Game 4: Florida 3, @Washington 2 (OT); Game 5: @Florida 5, Washington 3; Game 6: Florida at Washington, Friday 7:30 (BSF, TBS); Game 7*: Washington at Florida, Sunday. *If necessary