Caps fall in OT de­spite late hero­ics

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Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals cen­ter Evgeny Kuznetsov has a flare for the dra­matic, from is wacky bird-like celebratio­ns to his daz­zling passes to his re­cent string of crunch-time goals. With his team 3 min­utes, 6 sec­onds away from de­feat, Kuznetsov ri­fled a shot from the right wall, ty­ing the game, the third time he’s flashed some late-game hero­ism this week. But even that couldn’t sal­vage a game in which Wash­ing­ton re­peat­edly clawed back in spite of its re­peated blun­ders.

The Cap­i­tals lost to the Florida Pan­thers, 5-4, in over­time, on a power-play goal by Mike Hoff­man. Wash­ing­ton had limited its penal­ties and but­toned-up de­fen­sively over the past week, cut­ting down on the break­aways and odd-man rushes al­lowed, but the Cap­i­tals fell back into some bad habits against the Pan­thers. The loss keeps Wash­ing­ton four points back of the New York Is­landers in the Metropoli­tan Di­vi­sion.

Kuznetsov scored the game-win­ning tally in the last minute against the Cal­gary Flames on Feb. 1, and he also scored the over­time win­ner last game against the Colorado Avalanche. Since re­turn­ing from the bye week, he has four goals with four as­sists in the past five games.

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