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Takeaways: Capitals (Power) Play Right Way, End Skid vs. Oilers

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Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals came into Monday’s game on a mission: to play a full 60 minutes, maintain the lead and get back on the winning track. They

Four power-play goals, a standout performance from the big guys and smart play led Washington a much-needed 5-3 win over Edmonton. It snaps a four-game skid for D.C., and marks the first time they’ve maintained the lead for a regulation win since Oct. 29.

Here are all the takeaways from the win:

Power Play Stays Hot For Washington Capitals

Going into Monday’s tilt, the Capitals’ power play had PPGs in three of its last four games. And, against a weak Edmonton penalty kill, the man advantage exploded for four goals.

Strome got the team on the board on a nice redirect in front on the PP to make it 2-1. It marked his second of the game.

Then, on another opportunity, Kuznetsov struck on a nice one-timer short side for his first of the season. He had gone the first 12 games of the year without a goal. He also added two helpers on the other PPGs. He now has points in two of his last three games.

After that, the power play struck again. Alex Ovechkin settled the puck and snapped on a quick shot from the left circle to make it a 4-2 hockey game. It marked career goal No. 788, moving him 14 shy of passing Gordie Howe for second on the NHL’s all-time goals list.

Kuznetsov would get another PPG with less than two minutes to go. Ovechkin went on a semi-break and instead of shooting while tied up, dished the puck to Kuznetsov for his second of the game.

Big Guns Step Up For Banged-Up Washington Capitals

With eight players out for Washington and several blown leads amid a four-game skid, the Capitals knew their top-6 guys needed to step up. They did just that.

Strome finished the night with two goals and an assist for a three-point night, and now has five points in his last four games. He was moving his feet, making quick, crafty plays and showcasing his speed and quick hands.

Kuznetsov, meanwhile, added four points of his own with his first two of the year and two apples. He has four points in his last three games and leads the team with nine helpers. He was making great plays in front, taking good care of the puck and showing that classic Kuzy skill. It was exactly what head coach Peter Laviolette wanted to see from the 30-year-old.

Ovechkin also stays hot. He has goals in five of his last six games and points in six games. He has started to find his footing and get back into a rhythm after a bit of a slow start, and he is making the most of each shift. The Great 8 also had an insane curl-and-drag move and dangled in for a great chance, and was an absolute force to be reckoned with against McDavid and company.

Ultimately, Washington got the offense it was looking for. It marked the first time since Oct. 29 against the Nashville Predators that the Capitals have scored at least three goals and the first time since Oct. 24 that they’ve scored at least four.

Washington Capitals Get Solid Play From Blue Line

It marked the first time since 2014-15 that Washington was missing both of its top-pairing defensemen in John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov and despite the absences, they played a pretty solid game.

Erik Gustafsson picked up three assists and worked well on that top pairing with Trevor van Riemsdyk, who got an “A” with Orlov out. Gustafsson was mobile, generated chances, made great plays and also dangled to get the puck in the offensive zone.

Lucas Johansen also looked great in his debut. He was taking good care of the puck, moving the play up ice and making the most of his opportunity. After a strong camp and just missing out on an opening night roster, he certainly started off his regular season call-up on a high note.

The penalty kill also came up huge in the third with Edmonton down one. The Oilers have the second-best PP in the league so that kill was huge and a game-changer as the Capitals allowed zero shots during that opportunity.

Charlie Lindgren Comes Up With Save Of Year, Gets First Win

Charlie Lindgren did what he could to keep D.C. in it. He absolutely stoned McDavid, who danged past everyone and left Lindgren sliding. He still managed to get across and come up with a phenomenal stop.

Against a high-powered Edmonton team, he handled Leon Draisaitl and company pretty well, and most of the goals against weren’t really his fault.

Additional Washington Capitals Ice Chips

  • Nicolas Aube-Kubel looked solid in his debut. He skated on the third line with Lars Eller and Anthony Mantha, and he had two shots and a huge hit on Evander Kane through 9:0.
  • Ovechkin led with five shots. Strome, Kuznetsov and Lars Eller came in second with four.
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