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Takeaways: Ovechkin, Capitals Tie Pens For Third In Metro, But Fall To Vegas



The Capitals re-signed Ovechkin to a five-year deal.

The Washington Capitals came into T-Mobile Arena looking to keep the good times rolling. They had a big opportunity to shake up the playoff picture and a chance to do so in the building where they won it all just a few years back. And while they played a strong game, things didn’t go exactly according to plan.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin stepped up big time as the Great 8 made more history, but ultimately, two quick goals against in the third and a great play from Shea Theodore in overtime led to a 4-3 OT loss.

Washington is now 6-1-1 in its last eight games and is tied with the Penguins for third in the Metro. Pittsburgh owns the tiebreaker, though, so the Capitals still sit in the second Wild Card spot.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat:

Ovechkin Makes History With Multi-Goal Night

Ovechkin has been no stranger to milestones this season, and Wednesday was no different. The Great 8 picked up two goals and an assist to make history once again and continue his climb up the NHL’s all-time goals list.

In the second period, Marcus Johansson got the puck up ice to Kuznetsov, who found Ovechkin wide-open for a one-timer to make it 2-1.

The goal was Ovechkin’s 49th of the season and marked his third straight game with a goal. Ovechkin now has goals in seven of his last eight outings. Also, the Washington captain passed Teemu Selanne for the most goals in a season by a player 36 or older, and Thompson was the 160th goaltender he has scored on in his storied career.

Ovechkin wasn’t done there. With the Capitals down 3-2 in the third period, Ovechkin picked up a great pass from Dmitry Orlov, who unleashed an absolute laser of a slapshot past Thompson to tie the game with his 50th goal of the season.

The Great 8 has now tied Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky for the most 50-goal campaigns in NHL history.

Ovechkin is also the fourth player to hit that mark this season and is tied with Chris Kreider for third in goals for 2021-22. Not only that, but in the big picture, Ovi is now 20 goals shy of 800, 22 goals shy of Gordie Howe and 115 goals shy of breaking Gretzky’s all-time NHL goal-scoring record.

Kuznetsov Stays Red-Hot

Kuznetsov has been outstanding on his revenge tour for Washington this season, finding the scoresheet nearly every night and gaining a step over this final stretch. He kept that momentum going in Vegas.

To kick things off in the opening frame, Kuznetsov got to the front of the net and found a rocket from Ovechkin trickling past Robin Lehner. No. 92 stuffed it in to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead with his 24th goal of the season.

Kuznetsov now has points in three straight games and points in 20 of his last 22 outings. He also added an assist for another multi-point outing and is now up to 77 points in 74 games this season.

The 29-year-old also had a strong night in the face-off circle, going 9-for-13 (69 percent) in the dot. He finished the game with four shots, a plus-2 rating and a hit through 19:04 minutes.

Tough Go-Of It In Third, Flat-Footed Play In OT Sinks Capitals

Washington didn’t have an easy time in the third and felt their strong start go downhill. Just 2:05 minutes into the final frame, Evgenii Dadonov rocketed home his 20th of the season to make it 2-2, and just 39 seconds later on the power play, former Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson tipped a Max Pacioretty shot past Ilya Samsonov to give the Knights the lead.

Samsonov had stopped 16 of 17 shots leading up to the third before surrendering two quick goals against in the third. He stopped 10 of 13 for the rest of the night and finished with 26 saves on 30 shots (.867 save percentage). The 25-year-old is now 4-1-1 in his last six starts.

While the team was blocking shots and throwing their weight around, those two quick goals were costly, and in OT, Washington found itself flatfooted on the backcheck and allowed Theodore to go in and make a dazzling move for the winner.

Sammi’s Top-Shelf Takes

  • Johansson is now on a three-game point streak. Here’s more on Johansson, who is becoming more comfortable in Washington and meeting head coach Peter Laviolette and the Capitals’ expectations.
  • Nick Jensen led all skaters in ice time, logging 24:57 minutes.
  • Tom Wilson brought the physicality, ranking first on Washington with six hits. Martin Fehervary and Garnet Hathaway were right behind with five each.
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