WASHINGTON — To close out 2022, the Washington Capitals put on a show, piling on nine goals en route to a huge victory over the Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Eve.
Alex Ovechkin net his 30th career hat trick in the win, Erik Gustafsson stayed red-hot, Charlie Lindgren put on a clinic in net and more Capitals stepped up for the win, which got sloppy at times but was arguably still the team's best game this season.
Here's what Ovechkin and more had to say about the W:
On if he loves to play against the Canadiens (38 goals in 51 games against them): "No. I just enjoy to play hockey." [laughs]
On the power play's strong performance: "Power play, it's key for our success, I think. Power play, PK, it can change the game. It can change momentum. Obviously we lost key players, but different guys who play in their spots have to do the job and create chances and do the work."
On Gustafsson, Strome, Lindgren & new additions playing strong hockey: "Guys get hurt. We sign good players, and right now you can see how they play. They play hard, they play very smart — skilled guys — and it help us. Obviously, we was in a tough position before the season start. Brownie get hurt right away, then Carly, Osh. Different guys come in on different lines."
On his seven-game point streak and goals: "It's always fun to score goals. Wasn't that hard today. He made a great pass there, Kuznetsov, so it was an open net for me, but it's fun you know? It's fun to play right now. Today we had a great game. Lindgren was great in net too."
On what's working for him in D.C.: "I don't know. Well, you play more and more minutes every night so it's more consistent, you know, as you stay with it. It's fun to play with TVR too again and I'm just trying to play as simple as I can and follow up the rush."
On adding offense on defense with John Carlson out: "You know we have a couple guys on injured listright now and we just gotta keep this train going as far as we can till the guys are back. It's gonna be fun to see those guys coming back and we top of the standings so we just got to try to stay up there the whole time and try to win every game we can. It's fun to play on the first PP and just try and take the opportunity as I can."
On coming up with big stops: "You look at their lineup, they still got a really good group of forwards: a lot of young skill guys, guys that have high compete. It's a competitive hockey team. It's the NHL, so they got some chances. But I thought we did a great job countering and obviously, we did a good job putting the puck in the net, too."
On beating his former team: "I played them last year, so I think there was a lot more emotion that went into it last year. I have a lot of respect for a lot of the guys on the team there. But beating your old team, it definitely feels a little sweeter."
On thriving with Capitals and easy adjustment to D.C.: "It's been amazing. That's a credit to the guys that have been here and the staff and everyone. From Day 1, it's felt like home to me. I can speak for all the new guys here, everyone is just extremely comfortable. It's an awesome place to play hockey. It's a great place to live. We've got a really good fan base and we've got a great hockey team. So there's really nothing not to like about playing here."
On getting off to a better start after the Ottawa game: "I think we played good from the start. I think we once got up 2-0, we kind of let off a little bit and it got sloppy for a bit, then we picked it right back up again after a bit. It was a lot better. So yeah, I mean, the starts are big. And once you get going, I feel like we're tough to stop."
On getting back to strong level of scoring: "Being healthy, number one. Knock on wood, being able to be out there and play consecutively. Also, I feel like this team's game suits me pretty well, and I'm having a lot of fun playing. So, I think those are the main things."