WASHINGTON, D.C. — It was a wild afternoon at Capital One Arena, one that appeared to feature two different Washington Capitals teams. The one to open the game struggled, being dominated in shots and surrendering three goals to the Calgary Flames. The one that came out for the second period put on a show and pulled off a solid comeback to force overtime. However, they fell short in a 5-4 overtime loss where Elias Lindholm completed a hat trick.
Here are all the takeaways from the action and everything to know from the defeat:
Samsonov Relives Vanecek For Capitals After Rocky First Period
Ilya Samsonov started the second period after a shaky start from Vitek Vanecek. The Czech netminder surrendered three goals on 13 shots in a first period where Calgary dominated. Andrew Mangiapane struck on the power play about halfway through the first before Elias Lindholm netted two tallies, including one shorthanded.
Head coach Peter Laviolette said that pulling Vanecek was to try and initiate a spark and that he thought Samsonov was good through the remainder of the game.
“It was just a change that came. I mean Vitek, you look at the goals that were scored, there were some nice goals,” Laviolette said, adding, “It’s not like you fault him on the goals but at the same sense you’re trying to change the same and shape the game.”
Samsonov finished the game with 13 saves on 14 shots (.924 save percentage). The Flames ultimately outshot Washington 27-25.
Capitals Up The Ante In The Second
Washington wasn’t going down without a fight and came back with an impressive second period that started with a shorthanded goal from Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Russian now has nine points to start the season and is on a three-game point streak.
“I think for him it’s all about instincts,” Carl Hagelin said of No. 92 on the penalty kill. “I think he’s a guy that plays his best hockey when he wants to be in charge. He wants to be in control of the game, and you can see on the PK he’s been trying to do that.”
After that, Martin Fehervary, who’s been dominating on defense to open the season, net his first NHL goal on a quick snipe to pull the Capitals within one.
“I just tried to join the rush and Willy play it back to me and I have Kuzy behind me telling me, ‘Shoot, shoot, shoot,'” Fehervary said of his goal, later adding, “I feel every game more confident, I’m playing a lot of minutes and I’m really happy for every chance I got. I’m just trying to do those small things right, compete, play hard, battle. I’m just trying to do all the time my job, you know, hard work every day.”
READ MORE ON WHN: Fehervary Aiming For Permanent Stay With Capitals
After that, Alex Ovechkin forced a turnover and fired a rocket past Dan Vladar to even the score for the Capitals. It was his fifth of the season, putting him second behind Connor McDavid for the NHL goals lead to start 2021-22. He also picked up a helper on the Fehervary goal and now has three multi-point performances this season and a point in all five games to kick things off.
“I think we knew we still have lots of time to bounce back,” Ovechkin said of the comeback. “I think the Kuzy goal was huge and I think we played simple hockey, smart hockey and it gave us a chance to get a point.”
Laviolette also noticed a visible change in speed and attitude after the first 20 and believed the team was more engaged and skating much better as time went on.
Power Play Continues To Struggle
Washington hasn’t struck on the man advantage since opening night against the New York Rangers. The Capitals went 0-for-4 on the power play against Calgary and managed just three shots on net at 5-on-4. Laviolette mixed things up during the game, swapping out Anthony Mantha and John Carlson on PP1 with Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz to try and shake things up.
Ovechkin has just one power-play goal this season. Washington’s 15 percent success rate ranks 22nd in the NHL.
“There’s things that we can do better and there’s things that we’re working on. This power-play group has a lot of history,” Laviolette said. “I think losing a guy like Nick Backstrom, that factors into it a little bit. But we still got talented players on the ice and guys that can make plays and make things happen.”
More Ice Chips
- Connor McMichael and Kuznetsov were tied for the Capitals lead in shots on goal with five apiece. McMichael had five attempts blocked as well.
- Garnet Hathaway, Nic Dowd and Ovechkin led Washington with three hits each.
- Fehervary was a plus-3 in another strong outing. He said the first person he would call to celebrate his first NHL goal with is his father, Mario. “He’s a big part of my career, in my life.”
- Kuznetsov won nine of 14 draws (64 percent) and led the team in that department. He also generated a number of solid chances and played a solid all-around game yet again.
- Ovechkin is now at 735 career goals. He is now seven away from passing Brett Hull (741) for fourth on the all-time NHL goals list.