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O What A Night: Takeaways As Ovechkin Hits 767, Capitals Overcome Isles In SO



Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Late in the third period, Alex Ovechkin rocketed a shot off the faceoff that beat Semyon Varlamov, giving him his milestone 767th goal. The Washington Capitals bench flooded onto the ice to celebrate with their captain and would do so again later as the team managed to bounce back for a big win over the New York Islanders.

Despite a couple of coach’s challenges not going their way and a late game-tying tally for Anders Lee to force extra time, the Capitals saw milestone nights for Ovechkin and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and overcame their OT demons for a 4-3 shootout victory over New York.

Washington is now 5-0-1 in its last six games. Here are all the takeaways from the W:

Ovechkin Hits Milestone, Passes Jagr For Third On NHL All-Time Goals List

With the Capitals and Islanders tied 2-2 late in the third, Alex Ovechkin was still a man on a mission, seeking not only his 767th career tally but the go-ahead goal. He got both right off a face-off with 4:58 remaining in regulation time.

Ovechkin rocketed a shot past Varlamov to pass Jaromir Jagr for third on the NHL’s all-time goal list and become the highest-scoring European to ever play in the show. The 36-year-old broke out into celebration as the bench emptied, mauling the Great 8 to celebrate the long-awaited milestone.

The 36-year-old now has five goals in his last six games and sits at 37 goals and 72 points on the season. He also has points in back-to-back games.

WHN FEATURES: Ovechkin Reacts To Passing Jagr, Becoming Highest-Scoring European

Jonsson-Fjallby Scores First NHL Goal With Capitals In Style

While filling in for Carl Hagelin, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby has been making the most of his opportunity, using his speed and ability to his advantage while working on the fourth line with Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway.

That all paid off for the 24-year-old, who scored his first NHL goal on Tuesday against the New York Islanders — and looked great doing it.

With Washington down 2-1 in the third period, the long-haired forward turned on the jets to catch up with Dmitry Orlov, who pulled off some great dangles, for a 2-on-1. Orlov then made a perfect pass across to Jonsson-Fjallby, who made no mistake and ripped a shot past Semyon Varlamov.

“It felt good. I felt like it took me long enough. But it was a great feeling,” he said.

Head coach Peter Laviolette praised AJF’s performance since his call-up as he fills in for No. 62.

“First goal, he does it on a night when Ovi moves into third. Axel has played great for us,” Laviolette said. “He uses his speed, and he competes hard. It was nice to see him get rewarded with a big goal at that time.”

Mantha Continues To Look Strong In Capitals Return

Anthony Mantha has been back for six games now, and after taking a couple of games to get back into the rhythm, he has made the Capitals better in several areas.

Not only has Mantha’s return helped the Capitals expand their versatility in the lineup — and arguably help spark the power play — but he has also had great synergy on the second line with T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom. He has been getting to the net, using his size, speed and reach to his advantage and showcasing his stickhandling ability to generate chances for Washington.

That hard work paid off, as Mantha scored his fourth of the season. He now has points in three of his last four outings and four points in his first six games back from injury.

Later on, he secured the victory with the shootout winner.

Officiating Doesn’t Go Capitals Way

Washington didn’t receive a warm welcome back home from the officials on Tuesday, as the team ended up on the wrong side of two different coach’s challenges in the second period and also didn’t get a power play.

First, Washington challenged for goaltender interference after Anders Lee was whacking at Vitek Vanecek seconds before Brock Nelson’s goal. However, officials and the league determined that Lee’s actions didn’t hinder Vanecek’s ability to make the save, so the Capitals lost the challenge. Soon after, Justin Schultz scored to make it 2-1, but the Islanders challenged for offside. It was an easy call, and the goal was waved off.

There was also another questionable call made in the third, as Matt Martin received a holding call for taking down Ovechkin while Ovechkin got a matching penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes

  • Ovechkin led Washington with a whopping seven shots and six hits through 17:40 minutes.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov picked up two helpers — including the primary assist on Ovechkin’s milestone goal thanks to a clean faceoff win. He now has points in six straights, and finally got in the picture for Ovechkin’s milestone.
  • Vitek Vanecek came up huge, stopping 29 of 32 shots (.906 save percentage) and also standing tall through eight shootout rounds, surrendering just one goal.

  • Laviolette said he liked what he saw from the Daniel Sprong-Connor McMichael-Tom Wilson trio. Said Wilson brings a lot of physicality and leadership to that line. Also thought Sprong and McMichael had quite a few good looks.
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