The Florida Panthers made life a bit harder than it probably needed to do so in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But after Friday night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Washington Capitals, they are into the second round. The 4-2 series win was anything but simple, and this particular game wasn’t much different. Having fallen behind twice on the road, they battled back and took a lead through Aleksander Barkov with less than six minutes to go only to be pegged back by TJ Oshie’s goal that forced OT.
Carter Verhaeghe, who had helped put the team ahead in the third, though, had other ideas, scoring in the extra period less than three minutes in to book safe passage to the next round. They will await the winner of Tampa and Toronto’s Game 7. Elsewhere, the New York Rangers won 5-3 on the road to set up a seventh game at home with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Dallas Stars defeated the Calgary Flames 4-2 at home to give them another trip across the border. Mika Zibanejad had two goals and two assists and Chris Kreider had two goals for the Rangers while the Stars had 36 saves from Jake Oettinger and goals from four different players.