Panthers Fourth Line Buzzing in 4-2 Victory over Capitals

Panthers 4-2 Victory Capitals

Ryan Lomberg celebrates his game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals with his Florida teammates on Thursday in Sunrise. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

Sunrise, FL – The Florida Panthers got back in the win column with a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. 

The Panthers went down early, allowing a one-timer slapshot goal from Alex Ovechkin on the power play late in the first period. The shot came from his classic spot from inside the left faceoff circle.

Panthers defenseman Gustav Forsling helped get the Cats on the board early in the second period when he hustled to keep a puck inside the offensive zone, fired it on net, and deflected off Matthew Tkachuk’s skate for the goal.

Washington and Florida traded goals towards the end of the second frame, with Capitals forward Anthony Mantha tipping in a centering pass for a top-shelf goal, and Tkachuk taking a shot that deflected off Sam Reinhart for the power play goal.

Ryan Lomberg scored what would be the game-winning goal with 5:32 left in regulation. Eetu Luostarinen scored an empty-netter to put the game on ice with just under a minute left.

Chucky and Reino Connection is Back

Sam Reinhart went a whopping 60 minutes of game time without a goal in Florida’s return from the All-Star break against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Prior to Tuesday’s game, Reinhart had scored in four straight. Perhaps his goal on Thursday was the beginning of a new streak.

Florida was 0-for-4 on the power-play all night before they saw the very familiar sight of Tkachuk firing a shot at the goal that gets deflected into the back of the net by Reinhart. 

That goal, which tied the game at 2-2 with 2:28 left in the second period, was Reinhart’s 36th of the season.

4th Line Was Buzzing

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice mixed and matched with his top three lines going into the third period, saying after the game that he wanted to change the look of the offensive zone play.

There was one line he didn’t touch: the fourth line of Jonah Gadjovich, Kevin Stenlund, and Ryan Lomberg.

The line looked productive all night, producing seven of Florida’s 21 high-danger scoring chances according to Natural Stat Trick. 

In the third period especially, the line was buzzing and giving the Washington defense fits.

Lomberg finally got a puck past Washington goalie Darcy Kuemper when he one-timed a pass from Dmitry Kulikov with 5:32 left in the game.

“It was great for our line,” Lomberg said. “I think the big boys have done a majority of the pulling this year. So to have some depth scoring for our team is a good thing.”

Bobrovsky Rested, Not Rusted

Less than nine minutes into Sergei Bobrovsky’s first official game in almost two weeks, the Panthers goaltender had to square up one-on-one with Capitals forward Beck Malenstyn for a penalty shot.

After Oliver Ekman-Larsson interfered with the left winger on a breakaway, Bobrovsky was put in the tough position of facing the penalty shot in his first game back since representing the Panthers at the NHL All-Star game on Feb. 3

Bobrovsky made a blocker save on Malenstyn, keeping the game scoreless for the time being.

“They started pretty fast, pretty hard,” Bobrovsky said. “So it was a little bit of work in the beginning. It was a good save. I thought our guys did a great job. They fight, they battle hard.”

After that, Bobrovsky stopped 20 of 22 shots he faced, including four high-danger scoring chances.

Perhaps we can give Bob a mulligan for the goal he allowed to Ovechkin, who ripped a slapshot from the left faceoff circle, which has been his office for the past 18 years. 

📸Credit: (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

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