The San Jose Sharks have had the number of the Washington Capitals over the years, but that was not the case on Monday. The Caps were finally able to beat San Jose and they did so in convincing fashion with a 4-1 win.
Here’s why they won
Alex Ovechkin does it all
With the Caps leading by one in the second period, Ovechkin was able to pounce on a flubbed shot by Brent Burns and was off to the races. Ovechkin took the breakaway from the defensive zone, avoided the sweep check from Brenden Dillon and backhanded a shot past Martin Jones for the highlight reel goal. The second period was a sloppy one for Washington and the Sharks were retaking the momentum. Ovechkin’s goal was critical in re-establishing control of the game.
Brett Connolly restored the Caps’ two-goal lead. Or did he? Yes he did. Did he really? Yes. He did.
A bizarre sequence unfolded late in the second period. After Brenden Dillon was called for high-sticking and T.J. Oshie left the game after a hit from Joe Thornton, Connolly found himself playing with the top power play unit. He took advantage with a top-shelf goal to beat Jones. Or did he? The Caps thought he scored, but the puck was in and out so fast the referees let the play continue. After the next stoppage, the play was reviewed and Connolly was correctly awarded the goal. Or was he? At that moment, the Sharks decided to challenge the goal as offside. After another review, the goal was still upheld and Connolly was mercifully awarded the goal. The Sharks were also given a delay of game penalty for the challenge.
Philipp Grubauer’s third period
Through 40 minutes Grubauer looked good, but not great. That changed at the start of the third when Grubauer made a number of fantastic saves to ensure the Sharks could not make a game of it. His best save sequence came with 15:25 remaining in the third. Jannik Hansen hit Marcus Sorensen on the cross-ice pass to the right, but Grubauer was there with the pad to deny him. The Sharks were able to control the rebound and Sorensen fed it back to a wide-open Hansen on the left who was again denied by a sprawling Grubauer. Hansen and Sorensen kept digging for the puck but were ultimately unable to solve the German netminder. Grubauer faced nine shots in the third, the most he faced in any period on Monday, and he turned aside all nine.
The Sharks devolving in the third
At the start of the third, Tom Wilson called Thornton to account for his hit on Oshie. The two fought, then went to their respective penalty boxes. Issue over, right? Not for the Sharks. Whether they were upset by Wilson fighting Thornton, they were frustrated by the direction the game was going or they were just plain crazy, San Jose went nuts for most of the period. In all, the Sharks were assessed 37 penalty minutes (six minors, three majors and one 10-minute misconduct) in the final frame compared to Washington’s 18. It’s hard to mount a comeback when you are constant shorthanded.