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WATCH: Alex Ovechkin nets hat trick as Capitals edge Panthers

Sportsnaut
Nov 26, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Carter Verhaeghe (23) carries the puck as Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) defends during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Carter Verhaeghe (23) carries the puck as Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (74) defends during the first period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin capped his 28th career hat trick by scoring 4:02 into the third period to lead the host Washington Capitals to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Ovechkin, who upped his season total to 18 goals, scored on the left side on a rebound, from the right circle on the rush and in the slot. He has 273 career power-play goals, one shy of Dave Andreychuk’s NHL record.

Tom Wilson collected one goal and two assists and Evgeny Kuznetsov set up three tallies for the Capitals.

Florida was leading 1-0 early in the second period before the Capitals scored three goals in 2:12.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe scored for the Panthers.

Due to a concussion scare with Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida made several goaltender changes within the first two periods. Bobrovsky absorbed a hit from Wilson and left the game after allowing two goals. Spencer Knight (six saves) relieved the netminder and allowed a quick goal, which is when Bobrovsky returned and finished with 19 saves.

After Reinhart’s goal with 6:49 expired in the second period, Bobrovsky was forced off the ice by the officials as part of the NHL’s concussion protocol. Bobrovsky returned for good with 2:48 remaining in the period.

Washington’s Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves.

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The Panthers were without two of their top-six forwards: captain Aleksander Barkov (knee) and Anthony Duclair (undisclosed). This is the fourth straight game Barkov has missed, and Duclair was a late scratch.

Florida opened the scoring on Huberdeau’s breakaway goal with just 32 seconds left in the first period. After a Capitals turnover, Huberdeau made a move and used his backhand to shove the puck between Samsonov’s pads.

Washington scored a shorthanded goal 1:34 into the second. After a Kuznetsov steal, the Panthers got caught in a bad line change. Kuznetsov sent a stretch pass to John Carlson, who fed Wilson for the goal from the right circle. Wilson and Bobrovsky collided in the aftermath of the goal.

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Three seconds after Wilson’s goal, Florida’s Joe Thornton was penalized for tripping Beck Malenstyn.

Ovechkin scored the next two goals to give Washington a 3-1 lead.

Reinhart’s goal closed the second-period scoring with Florida trailing, 3-2.

Ovechkin and Verhaeghe traded goals early in the third period, and the Capitals hung on from there.

–Field Level Media