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Takeaways: Ovechkin Hat Trick, Capitals Overcome Early Fumbles To Top Cats

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Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will not be stopped — no matter the circumstances.

It was a bit of an odd Friday afternoon showdown to start between the Capitals and Florida Panthers, two teams near the top of the NHL standings. It all started in the opening frame when Ovechkin got hit in the face by an errant puck before going off for repairs and returning. Then, toward the end of the first, Trevor van Riemsdyk fumbled the puck at his own blue line and caught the ice, sending the Panthers on a 2-0 and giving them a 1-0 lead heading into the second.

Washington — and Alex Ovechkin — didn’t pack it in after that. The Great 8 led a second-period surge and had a historic hat trick, while three other players also had multi-point showings, for a convincing 4-3 victory. The Capitals are now tied for first in the Metro with Carolina (31 points).

Here are all the takeaways from the win.

Shake, Rattle and Roll: Ovechkin’s Historic Run Continues

It wasn’t the most fun start to Black Friday for the Great 8, starting with the puck to the face., But, like his broken nose against Montreal over a decade ago, he was only fueled by that. that appeared to only fuel him forward. He led the surge in the second period, striking on a nice rebound on the power play before snapping home his second of the game just 56 seconds later.

Then, in the third, the captain completed the hat trick with his third of the game. It marked his 28th career hat trick.

Ovechkin is up to 18 goals and 36 points through 21 games to open the 2021-22 campaign. He ranks second in goals and is tied with Connor McDavid for second in points. He has three three-point performances in his last four games and is riding a four-game point streak, with 10 points over that span.

To add to the show, Ovechkin continued his strides toward history. He already made franchise history with the most points through the first 20 games of the season. On Friday, he passed Guy Lafleur for the 26th-most points in NHL history (1,356). He is now 19 goals away from passing Jaromir Jagr for third on the NHL’s all-time goals list. Also, the Russian sits two power-play goals away from passing Dave Andreychuk for the most NHL PPGs of all time. He tied Marcel Dionne and Bobby Hull for sixth all-time with 28 career hat tricks. He is also the oldest player in franchise history to record a hatty.

Kuznetsov, Wilson Step Up On Special Teams, Pour On Points

With Washington trailing 1-0 and going on the PK early in the first, the Capitals refused to let the tempo go to the Panthers. Instead, they tilted their ice in their direction, and it all started with Evgeny Kuznetsov.

The 29-year-old, who has been red-hot this season, displayed poise, patience and solid stickhandling before finding John Carlson up the ice for a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Tom Wilson, who scored a SHG to even the score. Wilson now has goals in three straight games and five in his last seven.

No. 43 still had work to do; he got to the front of the net and was aggressive on the man advantage, which led to Ovechkin’s PPG on the rebound. Then, in the final frame, he and Kuznetsov added respective helpers on Ovi’s third of the might.

Both Kuznetsov (three assists) and Wilson (one goal, two assists) finished the night with 3-point performances. Aliaksei Protas also picked up a pair of helpers for his first career multi-point game. Kuznetsov’s 20 assists through 21 games rank third in the NHL, and he passed Nazem Kadri for fourth in NHL scoring.

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Aliaksei Protas picked up two assists for his first career multi-point game. He was playing with speed, battling for the puck and made a lot of strong passes, and also helped spark the man advantage.
  • Beck Malenstyn had a strong game and had several looks for his first NHL goal/assist. He was throwing his weight around, backchecking well and showing strong chemistry with Mike Sgarbossa and Brett Leason.
  • Ilya Samsonov made some big stops and finished the night with 19 saves on 22 shots (.894 save percentage).
  • Nic Dowd dazzled in the face-off dot, winning 12 of 20 draws (60 percent). Connor McMichael also won 3-of-5 for a FO% of 60.
  • The Panthers saw quite a few goaltending changes in the second period, with Spencer Knight coming in for Sergei Bobrovsky after the first Ovechkin goal and heading down the tunnel. Then, Knight went back to the bench as Bobrovsky came back in following Ovechkin’s second. Later in the period, they switched again before swapping one more time. Bobrovsky remained in net for the remainder of the game.
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Larry Reagan

Kuzy, OV, and Wilson all with 3 points each. What a line performance!

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