SUNRISE — Florida Panthers coach Andrew Brunette did not categorize his team’s loss in Game 1 of the playoffs as a “wake-up call” but more of an “eye-opener.”
Regardless, if the Panthers did not take the eighth-seeded Washington Capitals seriously before the series started, they certainly do now.
Washington stymied the high-flying Panthers on Tuesday night, limiting their scoring chances as well as slowing down the style they want to play.
”We did not manage the puck as well as we should have against how they played and we struggled in the neutral zone a little bit,” Brunette said. “They clogged it up pretty good and were pretty tight. We were disconnected offensively with the puck. Credit to them, but we have to find a way to fight through it.”
Florida, as has been the case at times this season, struggled when they could not come through the zone with speed as the Capitals bottled Florida up in the neutral zone and did not offer many clean looks.
The Capitals were the better team on Tuesday night, the play of Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky keeping it close.
The Florida Panthers held a 2-1 lead thanks to Claude Giroux’s goal early in the second period, but a couple miscues in the third led to Washington goals and a 4-2 loss.
”You learn from them and move on,” Brunette said of the mistakes Florida made on Tuesday. “There are lots of things we could have done better and some things we did really well. It’s a game of adjustments and we have to do some things a little differently and a little more efficiently.’’
On Wednesday, the Florida Panthers were ready to put that game behind them and get back into this best-of-7 series.
“We just have to keep things simple and play the way we have all year,” Anthony Duclair said. “We don’t have to change too much but we have to tighten up defensively. They have some players who can make some plays at any given moment.”
— Tom Wilson is out for Game 2 with coach Peter Laviolette saying he is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
Wilson, who scored the Capitals’ first goal at the end of a power play Tuesday, only played three shifts in Game 1 before leaving the game.
He returned in the second period and took a few strides on the ice but went back down the tunnel and returned to the room.
Washington recalled AHL forward Brett Leason from Hershey on Thursday and he will be in the lineup.
— Florida changed things up a little with the big move coming in the bottom-6.
Noel Acciari replaces Ryan Lomberg in the lineup and on the left side of the fourth line; Claude Giroux and Sam Reinhart are also changing spots.
Sergei Bobrovsky is back in net after a terrific Game 1.
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
PANTHERS V. CAPITALS (WSH leads 1-0)
- Game 1: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, TBS
- Radio: WQAM 560 (flagship); WMEN 640 (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3 (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- Draft Kings odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-240); Puck line (-1.5, +100); Over/Under 6.5 (-125/+105); Series (-175)
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: Washington at Florida, Thursday, 7:30 (TBS/BSF); Game 3: Florida at Washington, Saturday, 1 (ESPN/BSF); Game 4: Florida at Washington, May 9, 7 (TBS/BSF); Game 5*: Washington at Florida, May 11; Game 6*: Florida at Washington, May 13; Game 7: Washington at Florida, May 15. *If necessary
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
Coach: Andrew Brunette
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 10 Anthony Duclair
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 8 Sam Bennett // 13 Sam Reinhart
17 Mason Marchment // 15 Anton Lundell // 28 Claude Giroux
55 Noel Acciari // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
8 Ben Chiarot // 62 Brandon Montour
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
30 Spencer Knight
PP1: Reinhart – Barkov – Giroux – Huberdeau – Ekblad
PP2: Hornqvist – Bennett – Duclair – Marchment – Montour
Scratched: Lucas Carlsson, Petteri Lindbohm, Joe Thornton, Maxim Mamin, Robert Hagg, Jonas Johansson, Ryan Lomberg
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR)
PROJECTED WASHINGTON CAPITALS LINEUP
Coach: Peter Laviolette
8 Alex Ovechkin // 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov // 73 Conor Sheary
90 Marcus Johansson // 19 Nicklas Backstrom // 49 Brett Leason
39 Anthony Mantha // 20 Lars Eller // 77 T.J. Oshie
22 Johan Larsson // 26 Nic Dowd // 21 Garnet Hathaway
42 Martin Fehervary // 74 John Carlson
9 Dmitri Orlov // 3 Nick Jensen
57 Trevor van Riemsdyk // 2 Justin Schultz
41 Vitek Vanecek
30 Ilya Samsonov
PP1: Oshie – Backstrom – Kuznetsov – Ovechkin – Carlson
PP2: Wilson – Sheary – Mantha – Schultz – Orlov
Injured: Tom Wilson (d2d, LBI)
Washington Capitals lines courtesy WashingtonHockeyNow.Com