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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — T.J. Oshie didn’t see his go-ahead goal get into the net. The Florida Panthers didn’t see this coming, either.

And right away, the top overall seed in the Stanley Cup playoffs finds itself in some trouble.

Oshie scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period, Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 shots and the Washington Capitals rallied past the top-seeded Panthers 4-2 in the opener of their Eastern Conference first-round series Tuesday night.

“It’s one game,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “Our guys played hard tonight. We’ve got to regroup tomorrow and get back to work.”

Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Lars Eller also scored for Washington, which trailed 2-1 going into the third period. Teams had been 0-39-1 against Florida in the regular season when trailing after 40 minutes, 0-22-0 when doing so on the Panthers’ home ice.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov celebrates after scoring during the third period against the Florida Panthers in Game 1.

The Capitals must have ignored those numbers. Here’s a number not worth ignoring: The last time Florida led a playoff series 1-0 was in 1997, and the Panthers wasted a chance to change that on Tuesday night.

“We let one slip away,” said Florida defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who returned after missing the final quarter of the regular season with a knee injury. “I’d like to think we’re going to learn a valuable lesson from this.”



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