Capitals' Backstrom: 'We basically gave the series' to Panthers
"That's obviously part of the things that you've gotta do to be successful in the playoffs. You have to shut down teams," forward Backstrom told reporters following the Capitals' season-ending loss, according to The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir. "I don't know what else to say. It's obviously on us. It's disappointing.
"Not just this game, it's been every game. ... Their offense is very good. It doesn't take a lot to get them going. When they get a goal, they get fired up, they start rolling. ... We basically gave the series to them."
After the Capitals squandered a 3-goal lead in Game 5, head coach Peter Laviolette said his team couldn't keep "feeding" the Panthers. Unfortunately for Washington, that trend continued in Game 6.
The Capitals held a 2-1 lead in the third period before the Panthers potted two straight goals, taking the lead with just over five minutes left in regulation. T.J. Oshie tied things up with one minute remaining, but Carter Verhaeghe ultimately dashed Washington's hopes with his second overtime winner of the series.
"I thought our guys played hard. We had opportunities to win, played against a team that proved to be the top team in the league, played them hard," Laviolette said, according to NBC Sports. "The games could have went either way, they just didn't go our way. I think that's the part you gotta let sit in your stomach for a while."
Washington was moments away from taking a 3-1 series lead in Game 4, but the Presidents' Trophy winners scored a late equalizer before going on to win in overtime, and the Capitals were never able to regain momentum in the matchup.
The Caps haven't won a playoff round since taking home the Stanley Cup in 2018.