Connect with us

Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Capitals Put Up Stellar Effort, Backstrom Plays Hero In SO Win Over Penguins

The Washington Capitals put together a solid effort and controlled the tempo for a huge 3-2 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. All the takeaways from D.C.



WASHINGTON — The Washington Capitals entered Thursday's showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins with a lot at stake, as a win would give them the leg-up in the standings over Pittsburgh and also keep the other teams closing in at bay. They delivered

From the get-go, Washington was swarming and for most of the game, controlled the tempo in arguably one of their best efforts of the season. D.C. goals from Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansso, and Danton Heinen and Bryan Rust struck in regulation for the Penguins, with Rust tying it late to force OT. Ultimately, Nicklas Backstrom played hero in a 3-2 shootout win.

Here are all the takeaways live from the District:

Alex Ovechkin Ignites Power Play As Washington Capitals Get Back To Their Brand Of Hockey

Out of the gate, Washington came to play. The team piled on the pressure and spent the majority of the time in the offensive zone while making smart plays, keeping things simple and taking good care of the puck. At the end of the first, Washington was at 21 shots, triple the amount that the Penguins had.

That strong 5-on-5 play also translated over to the power play, which was clicking well and found a spark after a 1-for-21 stretch over the last nine games heading into Thursday. Of course, it was Alex Ovechkin who provided that long-awaited PPG, as he rocketed home his 32nd goal of the season and 812th of his career past Casey DeSmith from the office off a nice feed from Evgeny Kuznetsov.

After some struggles and inconsistency over these last few games, the Capitals had chemistry on all four lines as the players made tape-to-tape passes, played to the system's identity and ultimately, were all on the same page.

Washington Capitals Get Huge Goal From 'MBJ' Line, Fight Until The End To Win In Shootout

After things fizzled out a bit in the second after a strong first period, the Capitals were able to recover with a strong third, where the Milano-Backstrom-Johansson combination gained a step.

Backstrom made a brilliant drop pass to Marcus Johansson early in the frame, and Johansson ripped it past Casey DeSmith to make it 2-1. Sonny Milano picked up the secondary helper and also crashed the net to get a chance at a rebound. That line had a lot of good looks and generated some good pressure.

All across the lineup, though, the play was solid despite All four lines were clicking, the team was playing within the systems and Darcy Kuemper stood tall between the pipes. It was a much-needed effort, one that mimicked the one in Colorado. However, Washington prevailed in the SO and won this time as Kuznetsov put on a slow-motion show once again before Backstrom won it.

Ice Chips

– Conor Sheary played in his 500th career game against his former club, which he won back-to-back Stanley Cups with. Anthony Mantha also played in career game No. 400. Both got tributes.

– Speaking of Sheary, he and Lars Eller were two players I was impressed with, especially on the penalty kill.

– Another player who earned a tribute: former Washington forward Alexander Semin was in the building to watch old friend Alex Ovechkin and company. The recently-retired winger received a standing ovation from the crowd.

– Kuznetsov has points in three of his last four.

– Anthony Mantha had three giveaways and dropped 'em with Kris Letang.

– A bit of an injury scare for T.J. Oshie after he blocked a shot and hobbled a bit afterward, but he was fine and remained in the game.

All the Capitals news that's fit to print

Sign up and get all of our stories sent directly to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.