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Capitals Takeaways

Takeaways: Unlikely Heroes, Ovechkin Power Capitals’ Rout Of Sharks

The Washington Capitals found their spark and rode a second-period surge and multi-point nights from several players to a dominant 8-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Here are all the takeaways.



Going into the second period against the San Jose Sharks, things weren't looking great for the Washington Capitals, who trailed 2-0 while being outshot 20-5. That's when Craig Smith, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and unlikely heroes sparked the Capitals' surge, and Alex Ovechkin and Rasmus Sandin helped finish the job to help the team to a blowout victory over San Jose.

Ovechkin and Smith struck twice, while Sandin picked up three assists and four more players had multi-point nights en route to an inspired 8-3 win over the Sharks.

Here are all the takeaways from the victory, which pulls Washington within three points of a playoff spot.

New Blue Line Steps Up For Washington Capitals As Sandin Leads Charge, Iorio Debuts

It was a big night for the Capitals' blue line, which featured a whole new look with Sandin playing in his first game since being traded to D.C. and Vincent Iorio making his NHL debut, while Gabriel Carlsson also got his first game up with the big club this season.

Sandin was busy in his debut, logging heavy minutes while playing on the first pairing with Trevor van Riemsdyk. He also played the role of quarterback on the point for the top power-play unit. He also got three assists, with one of those coming on the power play. He didn't shy away from joining the rush, showing strong skating and poise with the puck as he generated some chances and made some good passes to boot. The 22-year-old skated a total of 21:40 minutes.

Carlsson also had two assists and looked solid while getting some time on the penalty kill. He and Irwin had a +/- rating of plus-3 and looked confident on the blue line, while Irwin led with four blocks.

Iorio looked strong in his debut as well as his parents watched from the stands. The 6-4, 200-pound blueliner was physical and battled hard in his own end and skated well, while also sacrificing the body and pulling off a big shot block in the second. Then in the third, after some bumps and bruises along the way, he completed a give-and-go with Ovechkin to record his first NHL point. Iorio finished the night with an even +/- rating, one shot one takeaway and one block through 1:53 minutes.

In the end, it was Alex Alexeyev who led the team in ice time with 23:07 minutes.

Smith, Aube-Kubel & Unlikely Heroes Lead Second-Period Surge To Power Route

Washington didn't get off to the start it wanted to with the team giving up two goals and being heavily outshot, but things turned around quickly in the second, as more players beyond the stars stepped up to the plate.

Smith got the Capitals going, firing a rocket past Kaapo Kahkonen to make it a 2-1 game. It marked his first goal with Washington.

Less than three later, Aube-Kubel evened the score off a nice feed from Dylan Strome that was deflected off a Sharks defender and in. Aube-Kubel's goal came just a day after he signed a one-year extension to remain in Washington.

The Capitals then took the lead thanks to Irwin, who ended a 47-game goal-scoring drought off a nice point shot that made it past Kahkonen. Aube-Kubel picked up his second point of the game with an assist on the goal, while Gabriel Carlsson also got an assist on that tally for his first point up with the big club.

Smith wasn't done for the night, as he struck again after bunting the puck in with his stick on a nice play in front. Rasmus Sandin got his first point with the Capitals on the goal.

In the end, seeing Smith and company lead the rally led to the team steamrolling past San Jose and clicking across the board.

Rejuvenated Washington Capitals Turn Up Heat As Ovechkin Strikes Twice

Amid the second-period surge, Washington turned up the pressure in the final 40, spending a lot of time in the offensive zone and generating several quality chances. The power play also struck in the second, with T.J. Oshie scoring his fifth goal in five games. He has struck in four of his last five outings overall. Meanwhile, Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist for his 1,468th career point, moving him past Stan Mikita for the 16th-most points in NHL history.

Ovechkin then picked up his 34th goal of the season just nine seconds after the Sharks had pulled to 5-3. He now has 814 career goals.

He wasn't done there and added another goal on a nice passing play with Iorio to make it a 7-3 hockey game.

Additional Ice Chips

– Strome picked up a goal and two assists in the win, while Sonny Milano also had a multi-point night.

– Conor Sheary's assist ended an 11-game point drought.

– Tom Wilson picked up an assist and now has points in three of his last four games.

– Wilson and Aube-Kubel were tied for the team lead in hits.

– Sharks coach David Quinn was ejected for exchanging some words with the officials.

– Darcy Kuemper finished with 38 saves on 41 shots (.927 save percentage).

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