Capitals Defeat Canucks 3-2 with Alex Ovechkin Achieving Another Milestone

The Washington Capitals defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena. Coming off the break, the Caps have won two of their last three games to pull closer in the Metropolitan Division race. Their record improves to 28-18-6 and thanks to losses by the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, they are now in second place just two points behind the first place Islanders. 

The Caps struck first three minutes into the game. Alex Ovechkin came around the net and passed the puck to Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom shot it but it was stopped by the blocker pads of Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom. That’s when T.J. Oshie pounced on the rebound opportunity to bang it home and give the Caps a 1-0 lead. For Oshie, it was his 16th goal of the season.

Ovechkin achieved another milestone with that assist on Oshie’s goal, recording his 1,180th career point. That passes Sergei Fedorov to become the NHL’s all-time leading Russian scorer.

1-0 would be the score after the first period. The Caps dominated the opening 20, outshooting the Canucks 18-5. The Caps’ 18 shots in the opening period was the most shots they recorded in an opening period this season and the most they recorded in one period at home. The 18 shots were also just one shy of their single period high this year, which was 19 on Jan. 23 at Toronto. Neither team was able to cash in on their lone power play opportunities. Face-offs were dead even at 50 percent.

The Caps offense was quiet in the second period, registering just four shots on goal while the Canucks had 13 shots on goal. Their best chance came when Jonas Sigenthaler was called for hooking on a breakaway attempt by Bo Horvat. Horvat was awarded a penalty shot but Braden Holtby said no!

Holtby last stopped a penalty shot on Nov. 3 against the Dallas Stars. He hasn’t allowed a penalty shot at home since March 5, 2013 on a goal by Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins. Holtby has stopped four of the six penalty shots he’s faced in his career.

The Caps went up 2-0 at 5:47 of the third period with a slam dunk rebound from Brett Connolly for his 10th goal of the season. Jakub Vrana helped create the play, dishing the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Connolly rebounded Kuzy’s shot.

The Canucks got on the board at 8:02 with a goal from Markus Granlund, ending Holtby’s chance at a shutout bid. The Caps would answer at 12:13 with a strange goal from Jakub Vrana. As he circled behind the net, he had a weird shot where the puck landed just behind Markstrom. Evgeny Kuznetsov looked like he batted the puck in with a high stick just above the net, but upon further review from the officials they concluded that Kuznetsov never touched the puck. Kuzy admitted after the game that it was a good thing he’s bad at baseball.

The Canucks pulled their goalie for an extra attacker late in the game and Elias Petterson scored with 6.3 seconds left in the game to make it a one-goal deficit. The goal came after some Canucks players crashed into Holtby, knocking him down for a few minutes before getting back up and finishing the game. Holtby stopped 30-of-32 in the win, which is a .938 save percentage. Holtby told the media after the game that he’s fine. The Canucks outshot the Caps 32-31.

Jay Beagle made his return to D.C. and got a well-deserved ovation in his tribute video. The Caps were better on the face-off dot 53%-47%. Tom Wilson led the Caps with a perfect face-off percentage with Lars Eller just behind at 85%. As for Beagle, who was known for being effective on face-offs for the Caps for the last 10 seasons, he finished with winning 82% of his face-offs.

The Capitals will continue their season-long six-game homestand with game number four on Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche. Puck drop from Capital One Arena is at

Scenes from Capital One Arena:

 

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