The Washington Capitals witnessed history at Nationwide Arena, along with a wild second period and impressive heroics that intimately resulted in a 4-3 victory.
Here are all the takeaways from the win:
Ovechkin Makes History With No. 742
With Washington trailing 1-0 early, Alex Ovechkin again took matters into his own hands. Picking up a pass from Kuznetsov, the Great 8 unleashed a rocket that beat Joonas Korpisalo.
It marked his 12th goal of the season and the 742nd goal of his NHL career, moving him past Brett Hull for sole possession of fourth on the NHL’s all-time goals list.
“Obviously this means a lot,” Ovechkin said postgame. “When you start playing hockey and you came to NHL, you never felt like you’re going to be in the position with those names, but you know, it’s a special moment for me, my parents, my brother, my wife, kids… I’m pretty sure everybody’s happy right now.”
Ovechkin also picked up an assist for yet another multi-point performance this season. He’s on a three-game point streak, with six points over that span. Ovi is now 23 goals away from passing Jaromir Jagr for third all-time, but as he always says, he’s taking things “game-by-game.”
Hathaway Strikes Twice, Eller and AJF Step Up On Strong Third Line
Garnet Hathaway finally broke through on Friday, netting his first of the season on a nice tic-tac-toe passing play to give Washington a 2-1 lead. It marked Hathaway’s first goal of the season and his first tally since May 3 against the New York Rangers, as well as his first point since May 11. Minutes later, he went on a semi-breakaway and tallied to put the Capitals up by two. Hathaway finished the game with two tallies, a team-leading seven hits and a block through 17:17 minutes of ice time.
“I thought we stepped up. I thought it was a good team game,” Hathaway said. “It was great to contribute, but I thought everyone kind of stepped up today.”
His entire line was working well, with Lars Eller picking up two helpers for three points in his last two games after a slow start to the year. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby was skating well and utilizing his speed and moving the puck well, while also making smart plays and generating scoring chances.
Sheary Comes In Clutch For Capitals Just In Time
The Capitals were up 3-1 in the second, but two goals 22 seconds apart from Columbus evened things up at three. Each team got a few looks in the third, with Washington leading 10-7 in shots that period, and in the end, Conor Sheary broke the tie after firing a quick shot off a feed from Dmitry Orlov to break the tie with just 1:22 remaining in regulation.
“Yeah. Yeah like you said I feel like I’ve been getting chances,” Sheary said. “Our line’s been getting chances and just hasn’t been going our way, but it’s nice to get a big goal like that in a division game and come away with two points in a back-to-back.”
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Evgeny Kuznetsov continues his standout season. He has points in three straight, including five assists over that span. He’s been outstanding at both ends of the ice and is proving his critics wrong one game at a time.
- Tom Wilson also stays hot. He has five points in his last five games and picked up a secondary helper on Ovi’s 742nd tally, while also leading the team with four blocks through 20:35 minutes. (Here’s more on how he’s been able to play a much different role this year)
- Orlov is riding a three-game point streak and is up to five assists this season. He again came up big with a couple of solid blocks.
- Nick Jensen now has helpers in back-to-back games. He has also been one of the Capitals’ top defensemen, in my opinion, and has great chemistry alongside No. 9.
- Ovechkin and Daniel Sprong both led the team in shots (4).
- Ilya Samsonov struggled a bit in his first full game since October 29, making 26 saves on 29 shots (.897 save percentage). The 24-year-old is now 4-0-1 with a 2.93 GAA and .894 save percentage to start 2021-22. Zach Fucale, who made franchise history with a shutout in his NHL debut on Thursday, backed up. Vitek Vanecek was out again but he’s making progress and doing well on the ice, per head coach Peter Laviolette.