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Takeaways: Ovechkin, Capitals Dominate & Rally, But Fall To Blues In Shootout

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Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals didn’t get off on the right foot to kick things off against the St. Louis Blues, and things didn’t look good with Washington trailing 3-0 after the first 20 minutes.

However, Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals didn’t give up. Another bad start put Washington down by a good amount, Ovechkin, John Carlson and more powered a furious rally to guarantee at least a point. Things came down to a skills competition, though, and despite a great, dominant performance through regulation and OT, the Capitals fell 5-4 to the Blues in the shootout.

Washington finished the road trip with one of six possible points and is now 7-9-3 on the season. Here are the takeaways from the Capitals defeat.

Ovechkin, Carlson & Sheary Lead Rally To Guarantee A Point

For the third straight game, it took less than six minutes for the opposition to get on the board. John Carlson couldn’t get his stick on a loose puck in the neutral zone and turned it over to Jordan Kyrou, who went on an odd-man rush with Brayden Schenn the other way. Schenn picked up a nice pass from Kyrou and fired it past Charlie Lindgren to make it 1-0 just 4:56 minutes in. St. Louis would add two more to make it 3-0 going into the second.

Despite the deficit, the Capitals got things going toward the end of the frame, as they ended up outshooting St. Louis 9-7 to close out that opening frame. It set the stage for a rally.

It had been four games since Alex Ovechkin, who was riding a hot streak in early November, found twine. And he finally broke through on Thursday to move closer to 800.

After starting with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Aliaksei Protas, Ovechkin moved back to operating with Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary. Strome made a great pass to Ovechkin in tight, and he made no mistake as he sniped home his 789th career goal top shelf past Thomas Greiss to cut the deficit to 3-1. Ovechkin led the team with seven shots and was a force to be reckoned with after being quiet to start the road trip.

He is now 11 goals from 800, 13 from passing Gordie Howe and 106 from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record.

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Shortly after the Great 8 struck, John Carlson got his second goal in as many games, rocketing home a shorthanded goal after going on a 2-on-1 with Nic Dowd on the PK. It marked his 10th point in 13 games. Carlson, playing in his 900th NHL game on Thursday, had brought D.C. within one. Ryan O’Reilly scored what appeared at first to be a deflating highlight-reel goal just 26 seconds later on a nifty backhand to make it 4-2 going into the third.

The rally would continue in that final frame, though, as that goal didn’t stop them from coming back. and with the goalie pulled on the third power-play opportunity of the game, Carlson rocketed home a one-timer for his second of the game and fifth of the season. Strome picked up his second helper of the game, with Ovechkin also assisting. The net was empty for that so that Washington could operate 6-on-4. That ended an 0-for-22 drought on the man advantage over the last five games for the Capitals.

Shortly after, Conor Sheary evened the score with his seventh goal of the season. Evgeny Kuznetsov got the assist and now has points in three of his last four games, and Ovechkin picked up his second assist of the night for a 3-point performance.

Nic Dowd appeared to get the game-leading goal minutes later, but it was waved off after a review due to a high stick. Ultimately, though, Washington forced OT with a great final 40, as it outshot St. Louis 18-9 in the second and 21-3 in the third.

Alex Ovechkin Gets No. 789 As Lines Shuffle Again

After starting with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Aliaksei Protas, Ovechkin moved back to operating with Dylan Strome and Conor Sheary. Strome made a great pass to Ovechkin in tight, and he made no mistake as he sniped home his 789th career goal top shelf past Thomas Greiss to cut the deficit to 3-1. Ovechkin led the team with seven shots and was a force to be reckoned with after being quiet to start the road trip.

He is now 11 goals from 800, 13 from passing Gordie Howe and 106 from breaking Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal-scoring record.

Ovechkin also got some time in the Connor McMichael spot with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha and was double-shifted. Kuznetsov went to operate with Sonny Milano and Aliaksei Protas.

Washington Capitals Fall In Shootout

The Capitals were able to hold on and play it safe in OT to get to the shootout.

When it all came down to the skills competition, Charlie Lindgren, who didn’t get the homecoming he wanted, impressed along with Thomas Greiss. However Ryan O’Reilly and Pavel Buchnevich’s goals led to a win. Kuznetsov had the lone shootout goal for Washington, scoring on another slow-motion play.

Additional Washington Capitals Ice Chips

  • Nick Jensen picked up his third assist in five games on the shorthanded Carlson goal and now has a team-leading nine helpers.
  • Strome has points in back-to-back points.
  • McMichael skated just 8:01 minutes.
  • The Capitals ended the road trip having never held the lead in a game.
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