Panthers top Caps in OT for franchise's best 10-game start

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Eetu Luostarinen scored 1:55 into overtime to give the Panthers a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals and Florida its best 10-game start to a season.

Luostarinen’s centering pass went off a Capitals player and into the net, moving the Panthers to 9-0-1 with 19 points. The team’s previous best 10-game start was in 1996-97, with a 7-0-3 record and 17 points.

Florida's Aleksander Barkov scored two goals, raising his career total to 188, tied with Olli Jokinen for the most in franchise history. Aaron Ekblad had a goal and assist, and Brandon Montour also scored for Florida.

Spencer Knight stopped 25 shots after entering the game to start the second period. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 13 shots he faced before leaving after the first period with an upper-body injury.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 10th goal of the season and had two assists. Connor McMichael, Tom Wilson and Daniel Sprong also scored for the Capitals.

lya Samsonov stopped 15 of 18 shots before being replaced by Vitek Vanecek in the second period. Vanecek made 13 saves.

McMichael scored when he grabbed a loose puck in front and tied the score at 4-all with 13:04 left in the third period.

Trailing 4-1, the Caps scored two goals in the final 1:49 of the second period. Ovechkin’s goal, a wrist shot past Knight, made the score 4-2. Ovechkin has 740 career goals.

Wilson redirected a shot by John Carlson into the net with 16.8 left to pull the Capitals within 4-3.

Ahead 2-1, the Panthers stretched their lead to 3-1 on Montour’s goal, a shot from above the right circle that went into the top left corner of the net at 7:16 of the second.

Barkov found a loose puck in the crease for a power-play goal that made the score 4-1 with 4:28 left in the second.

Barkov put the Panthers ahead 1-0 when he backhanded in a rebound of his shot at 3:07 of the first.

Ekblad stretched the lead to 2-0 on a slap shot from above the right circle at 11:04 of the first.

Sprong’s goal came on a breakaway as beat Knight on the glove side 43 seconds into the second to make the score 2-1.

LATE ARRIVAL

Washington goalie Samsanov wasn’t on the bench as the puck dropped. Vanecek played the first 1:45 of the game, facing no shots, and Samsanov came in after the first whistle. Samsonov was eventually replaced by Vanecek in the second period.

SHOWDOWN SET

Florida plays host to Carolina on Saturday night, with the Hurricanes looking to tie the best start in NHL history at 10-0-0. The other teams who started a season with 10 consecutive victories were the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres. Florida started this season 8-0-0. “Obviously, Florida is as good as they come. ... We know what we’re getting there. That’s going to be a tough one,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

PRISKIE’S DEBUT

Florida’s Chase Priskie — a Washington draft pick — made his NHL debut for the Panthers, becoming the first South Florida native to play for the team. Priskie grew up in Pembroke Pines, Florida, about a 15-minute drive from where the Panthers play. His first time at a Panthers game was when he was just a few weeks old; that’s how big a fan of the team Priskie’s father, Jeff, was. Jeff Priskie died in 2013. “When I walk into this rink, all I can think about is my dad. I know he would be proud,” Chase Priskie said.

NOTES: The Panthers are selling chili-cheese hot dogs -- the King Dog -- as part of its endorsement deal with Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King. He’s directing all proceeds go to the Hurricanes’ offensive line, as part of his name-image-likeness deal with the Panthers. ... It had been nearly two full years since Washington played at Florida, the last game between the teams before Thursday came on Nov. 7, 2019. ... The Capitals and Panthers play three times this season, all in November. Florida goes to Washington on Nov. 26 and Washington returns to Sunrise on Nov. 30.

UP NEXT

Capitals: Host Philadelphia on Saturday.

Panthers: Host Carolina on Saturday.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Paul Gereffi, The Associated Press

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