Panarin scored the game-winner 6:02 into overtime while also adding two assists in Thursday's 4-3 win over the Capitals in Game 1. Panarin made an incredible individual move to drive by fellow Russian Dmitry Orlov and went backhand-to-forehand to beat Philipp Grubauer top shelf.
Columbus led the National Hockey League in scoring over its final 28 games with 101 goals and finished on a 10-2-2 streak. Blue Jackets center Nick Foligno also left the game in the third period when hit in the face by a slapshot from Capitals. Unless Washington can find a way to slow him down, Panarin may well carry the Columbus offense to another victory in Game 2 on Sunday. "You just have to stay focused and play your game no matter what". For as good as Grubauer has been this year, and he's been really good, the Blue Jackets still have reigning Vezina victor Sergei Bobrovsky, who had another great season in Columbus this year.
But Columbus cut the lead to 2-1 at 4:48 of the second period when Alexander Wennberg redirected a cross-crease pass from Boone Jenner past Grubauer. A well-conditioned group under coach John Tortorella, they often outscore opponents in the first period, much like they did past year.
Devante Smith-Pelly gave Washington a 3-2 lead at 5:12 of the period. That tied the game at 3-3 and time ran out in regulation.
Washington won the Metropolitan Division, but they aren't almost as impressive as they were in the past two years.
Kane broke a scoreless deadlock at the 7:07 mark of the second period at Honda Center. Capitals C Jay Beagle missed the game with an upper-body injury.
Another year, another division title for the Capitals, who await a matchup with the East's first wild card in the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Palat notched his second career postseason game with three points and first since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers in 2015.
Nikita Zadorov and Blake Comeau scored for Colorado.
Doughty, a Norris Trophy contender and Los Angeles' top defender, was suspended for Friday night's Game 2 against Vegas for what the league called an avoidable hit to Carrier's head.
Elsewhere, Czech David Pastrnak tallied a goal and two assists as the Boston Bruins swamped the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1 in their series opener at the Boston Garden.
Brad Marchand, Sean Kuraly and David Krejci also scored, and Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.
The news might get worse for the Stanley Cup drought-weary Leafs as forward Nazem Kadri is facing a likely suspension for a risky hit on Bruins Tommy Wingels which sent Wingels face first into the side boards.
"We had a meeting, me, him and Parros, and went over videos and just what they were looking at when he was being considered for suspensions and fines and other examples throughout the league", Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said.
Although both teams scored another in regulation before the game was decided in overtime, Wilson acknowledged his penalty and the goal that followed was a turning point in the game. Kempny didn't return to the game after the hit and could very well be in concussion protocol, although his condition remains unclear and the team doesn't reveal injuries. He then doubled the lead at 12:10 with an unassisted marker.
Game 2 is Saturday in Nashville.