Takeaways: On Big Trade Night, Capitals’ Losing Streak Hits Six
The Washington Capitals came up short against John Gibson and the Anaheim Ducks amid a major trade. Here are all the takeaways from the loss.
WASHINGTON — It was a busy night in the District, as just under an hour before warmups for Thursday's game between the Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks, general manager Brian MacLellan made a phone call trade Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins in a major pre-deadline deal to set Washington up for the future. At the same time, his team was at work on the ice against the Anaheim Ducks, working to snap a five-game losing streak with Alex Ovechkin back in the mix. However, they came up short.
The Capitals played a strong game and dominated offensively, but a rock-solid John Gibson and two odd-man breaks, along with a controversial goal, led to a 4-2 loss. D.C. has now dropped six straight decisions.
Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:
Washington Capitals Make Major Pregame Trade, Acquire Smith, Picks For Hathaway & Orlov
Prior to puck drop, Washington got down to business eight days before the deadline by acquiring Craig Smith, a 2023 first-rounder, 2024 second-rounder and 2025 third-rounder in exchange for Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway. The Minnesota Wild were also part of the deal, while Boston retained 50 percent of Orlov's salary.
MacLellan explained that the deal would allow the team to start trending in a younger direction while also wishing both of the players the best and thanking them for their time in D.C.
"We would like to thank Dmitry and Garnet for their contributions to our organization,” MacLellan said. “Dmitry has been with our organization for almost 14 years and was a key contributor in helping us win the Stanley Cup in 2018. Garnet has been an important part of our team and a role model off the ice for his contributions to our community. We wish both players all the best with Boston.
"This trade allows us to acquire draft capital, infuse youth and restock our system. While this season has proven challenging with injuries to our significant players, we are in a position to use some of our current assets to retool our club and build a competitive team moving forward."
With Hathaway and Orlov off to Boston, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Matt Irwin drew into the lineup. Erik Gustafsson led the team in ice time with 24:56 minutes.
Alex Ovechkin Returns To The Mix, Washington Capitals Pile On Shots
Ovechkin made his long-awaited return to the lineup, giving the team a spark and inspiring more offense. The captain had missed the last four games following the death of his father, Mikhail. He got a couple of good looks and had five shots. He also got time on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson and also operated with Nicklas Backstrom and Oshie.
Shots and getting pucks to the net have been an issue over the last few games, but that changed against the last-place Ducks. Tom Wilson led the charge, and the Capitals were all over the place, swarming the offensive zone and using their speed to get pucks on net.
Oshie and Nick Jensen struck, with Oshie's goal coming off a tip on the power play and Jensen's coming after he wheeled around the defense to the front and suck a shot past Gibson, who was a force to be reckoned with.
At the end of the night, D.C. outshot Anaheim 42-21, and the Ducks sealed the deal with an empty-netter.
Turnovers & Odd-Man Rushes Prove Costly, Two Fights Break Out After Controversial Goal
With Washington one point out of playoff position and the team looking for a spark to end a five-game slide, two fights broke out as Tom Wilson and Dylan McIlrath won their respective bouts with Simon Benoit and Sam Carrick. The fights came after Anaheim tied the game at two in the second following a big scrum in the crease that led to the loose puck finding its way into the back of the net.
Top Shelf Takes
– Wilson led the way with five hits.
– Charlie Lindgren made 15 saves on 18 shots.
– Gustafsson now has five assists in his last four games.
– Oshie led the team with six shots.
– Puppies visited the press box, so bright part of the night was Caps Canine Night.
Puppies visited the press box and I've never been happier
This is my Stanley Cup pic.twitter.com/eQi9DahS1d
— Sammi Silber (@sammisilber) February 24, 2023