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Takeaways: Ovechkin Makes History, Capitals Finally Win 3 Straight vs. CGY




It was a milestone night for the Washington Capitals in Calgary. Not only did Alex Ovechkin make goal-scoring history yet again, but Nicklas Backstrom also moved closer to 1,000 points while both skated in their 1,000th game together. And ultimately, the festivities resulted in a much-needed victory in Calgary.

Ovechkin struck twice, while Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha and Nic Dowd struck to give Washington a 5-4 win over the Flames. It marks the first time since the end of November that the Capitals have won three straight games.

Here are all the takeaways from the W:

Alex Ovechkin Ties Jaromir Jagr, Continues Historic Run

Ovechkin was moving his feet and a man on a mission again as the Capitals began their road swing in Alberta. The 36-year-old was swarming and making strong plays, and also helping generate quite a bit of pressure. His 765th tally was strong, as he pressured Chris Tanev along the boards and forced a turnover before getting to the front of the net, picking up a feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov and wiring a shot high past Dan Vladar in tight to make it 2-2 in the second period.

The Great 8 wasn’t done there. Ovechkin then found the empty net for his 766th NHL goal and yet another multi-goal game. He is now tied with Jaromir Jagr for the third-most goals in NHL history. Jagr also picked up his 766th goal at Scotiabank Saddledome back in 2017-18 — that would be his last NHL marker before heading back to the Czech Extraliga.

Through 56 games, Ovechkin now has 36 goals and 70 points. He is on pace for 51 goals and his first 100-point campaign since 2009-10. He sits seven goals behind Auston Matthews for the goal-scoring lead (fourth place) and ranks eighth in points. Also, the Capitals captain is now 129 red lights away breaking the NHL’s all-time goals record, where Wayne Gretzky sits first with 894 goals.

Sheary Stays Hot

Sheary continued his hot streak as well and was the one to help get Washington back into the game in the first place.

The Capitals again got off on the wrong foot. While they caught a break with an offsides no-goal to open the game, a failed power play led to a 2-on-1 break at the other end, where Rasmus Andersson set up a 2-on-1 out of the box for Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm to make it 1-0 in the first. Then, it’d be 2-0 just under nine minutes into the second after a turnover in the Washington zone led to a goal for Adam Ruzicka.

Sheary would then capitalize on a rebound soon after to give the Capitals life and help tilt the momentum. It was Sheary’s 15th goal of the season, moving him past last year’s total. He is now on a four-game point streak, with six points over that span. Overall against Calgary, he led the team with five shots through 12:48 minutes.

The 29-year-old now has 29 points through 48 games this season and is on pace for 23 goals, which would match his career-high, and 43 points. He has been an outstanding presence and versatile player for Washington, and he has proven to be a key asset at even strength and on special teams who can play any role and give a full effort night in and night out.

Mantha, Dowd, Secondary Scorers Step Up To Lead Dominant Third

Early in the third, the Capitals found themselves trailing again as Oliver Kylington made it 3-2 for Calgary early in the third. However, Washington would up the pressure, and a lot can be owed to the secondary scorers.

Anthony Mantha got his third goal of the season and his first since returning from a long-term shoulder injury on a perfect shot in front that beat Vladar high and evened the score.

Nicklas Backstrom picked up a helper on the play and moved to 998 career points. Nick Jensen got the secondary assist, giving him assists in back-to-back games. Mantha, meanwhile, has seven points in 13 appearances this year for the Capitals, which in a full 82-game season, would put him on pace for 44 points.

The fourth line was also outstanding for Washington. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby had another excellent outing in his second game filling in for Carl Hagelin, utilizing his speed and generating pressure on the forecheck while playing well in his own end to boot. He complements Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway very well, and AJF’s strong play along the boards ultimately led to Dowd scoring the go-ahead goal for the Capitals.

Dowd has been stellar of late and now has points in back-to-back games. He is up to eight goals and 17 points on the season and s on pace to set a new career-high in goals (12) and points (26).

Jonsson-Fjallby also picked up his second NHL assist on Dowd’s goal and finished the night with two shots and a plus/minus rating of plus-1 through 13:39 minutes.

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Nick Jensen picked up three helpers and now has 17 points on the season, his highest total since 2018-19. He is on pace to set a new career-high in scoring (25 points).
  • Ovechkin came oh-so-close to No. 767 but was denied another empty-netter in the final seconds.
  • Vitek Vanecek captured his third straight victory and stopped 31 of 35 shots (.886 save percentage). Through 28 games, Vanecek is now 13-7-5 with a .919 save percentage and 2.32 GAA.
  • Tom Wilson dished a helper and now has points in back-to-back games and five points in his last four outings.
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