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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Hathaway Dominates, Depth Scoring Key As Capitals Roll Pens



Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway

WASHINGTON, D.C. — What is love? Garnet Hathaway got to ask that on Sunday, scoring in his second straight game as he led the charge in a game where secondary scoring carried the Washington Capitals to a dominant 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first rivalry clash of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Capitals are now onn a four-game winning streak and are 9-4-2 to open the campaign. They are now tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for the Metropolitan Division lead with 22 points.

Here are all the takeaways from the action:

Hathaway Stays Red-Hot

From the moment he hit the ice in a toque and his full gear in support of Hockey Fights Cancer for warm-ups, Hathaway was buzzing. That carried right over into game action.

He picked up a secondary helper on Martin Fehervary’s first-period shorthanded tally, and soon after, he net his third goal of the year and third in his last two games on a stellar slap-pass from Alex Ovechkin to put the Capitals up by two.

“Maybe I need to stay out,” Nic Dowd laughed. “I don’t know, I know he’s obviously going to give me some grief, but excited for him. I want him to keep going. Hopefully I’ll get back and we can’t play together because he’s scoring too much. I wish him all the success. Great last couple games. He’s played really well.”

Beyond the scoresheet, Hathaway was by far one of Washington’s top players. He was moving well, skating hard at both ends and engaging hard in puck battles, while also throwing his weight around and generating pressure wherever he could. He led the team with six shots and five hits through 14:22 minutes.

Capitals Top Line Contributing All Over The Ice

The Capitals’ top line of Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson has been absolutely dominant this season, and they made the Penguins pay.

Ovechkin not only picked up an impressive helper early on, but later in the third period, he was physical in the corner and won a puck battle to force a turnover and get the puck to a wide-open Kuznetsov in front, who wired a shot past Tristan Jarry.

Soon after on the power play, Kuznetsov got the puck up ice to Tom Wilson, who went on a breakaway and deked to make it 6-1. Wilson had also picked up a primary assist earlier in the game on Fehervary’s SHG.

READ MORE ON WHN: Wilson Changing Image, Taking Responsibility For Capitals

Ovechkin and Kuznetsov are both riding four-game point streaks, with Ovi up to 26 points (third in the NHL) in 15 games this year and Kuznetsov hitting the 20-point mark as well over that span. Wilson has three goals in his last four games and points in four of his last six outings.

Secondary Scorers Come Up Big

Not only was Hathaway flying, but the Capitals also got a lot from their secondary scorers. Daniel Sprong picked up a goal and assist, while Sheary also added his second tally in as many games while adding a helper to boot.

Connor McMichael also found the scoresheet with a primary apple, and now has points in four of his last six games.

“I think that’s exactly the recipe for success for us,” Lars Eller said. “We need contribution from every line. We’re gonna be hard to play against, defend against and match up against.”

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Eller is heating up and now has points in three straight games.
  • Fehervary picked up his second goal f the season, which also marked Washington’s third shorthanded goal of the campaign, tying them with the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche for the most by any team so far.
  • Speaking of Fehervary, it’s a good thing he’s okay after this scary play from an obviously frustrated Sidney Crosby in the third period. Crosby returned on Sunday after being on COVID-19 protocol.

  • Trevor van Riemsdyk picked up another assist and has six helpers now. He ranks second behind John Carlson (7) for assists among Washington’s defensemen this season.
  • Vitek Vanecek was sharp in his return to the crease after missing the last two games following an injury at the tail-end of Monday’s win over the Buffalo Sabres. He stopped 24 of 25 shots (.960 save percentage). It was a strong performance for the 25-year-old, who said he felt fine in his return.
  • The Capitals paid tribute to those fighting and affected by cancer with Hockey Fights Cancer night. They sports lavender warm-up jerseys and stick tape, which will be auctioned off here.
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