Capitals

Quick Links

Ovechkin scores 18th career hat trick to keep Caps in it against Senators

Ovechkin scores 18th career hat trick to keep Caps in it against Senators

As the Capitals took to the ice in Ottawa to open the season against the Senators, Alex Ovechkin was serenaded to chants of “Ovi sucks!” from the Senators faithful.

The Great 8 silenced the critics on Thursday, however, with a hat trick performance that reminded us all just how dangerous a scorer he can be.

Down 3-1 in the third period, it looked like the game was getting away from the Capitals.

But the man who many wondered would ever be the scoring threat he once was responded with three goals to put the Caps right back in it.

RELATED: CAPS BEGIN SEASON WITH COMEBACK WIN

Evgeny Kuznetsov was able to steal away a pass from Ottawa defenseman Cody Ceci deep in the offensive zone. He fed the pass across to Alex Ovechkin in the office. Goalie Craig Anderson was already down in the butterfly giving Ovechkin all the room he needed up top to net the goal.

Just 83 seconds later, the forecheck from the Ovechkin line again forced Ottawa into a turnover. Ovechkin chipped the puck at the blue line to Jakub Vrana who drove it in. He fed Evgeny Kuznetsov backside who fed it right back to the trailing Ovechkin for the easy goal.

A disappointing 3-1 game turned into a 3-3 tie in less than two minutes.

Mark Stone almost spoiled the party with a goalie 77 seconds later to give Ottawa back the lead, but Ovechkin would not be denied.

Vrana and Kuznetsov converged into the corner of the offensive zone in a battle for the puck. When the puck did finally squirt loose Ovechkin pounced on it and snapped a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Anderson to complete the hat trick, the 18th of his career.

It was a fitting performance for Ovechkin who made his NHL 12 years ago on the very same day, scoring twice against the Columbus Blue Jackets to announce his presence in the NHL. Just when people began to wonder if Ovechkin was on the decline after scoring 33 goals last season, Ovechkin made it known he remains very much one of the top scoring threats in the NHL.

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

usatsi_10475534.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

3 reasons the Caps beat the Avalanche

The picked up right where they left off at home as they returned to Washington and defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Here is how the Caps were able to put last night's loss behind them and earn the win.

A better start

Against the Islanders on Monday, the Caps lacked energy early on and allowed a goal to Brock Nelson just 2:36 into the contest. Tuesday’s start had a much different feel to it. The Caps were moving their feet, moving the puck and creating sustained zone pressure. This time it was Washington who took the early lead as Jakub Vrana netted a goal just 5:25 in.

RELATED: SEE TARIK'S 3 STARS OF THE GAME FOR CAPS-AVS

Braden Holtby’s breakaway save on Colin Wilson

With the score tied at one in the second period, Colin Wilson was handed a gift from Brooks Orpik. As Orpik skated up the ice to his left, the rest of his teammates all skated right leaving him no one to pass too. Feeling the forecheck, Orpik tried the cross-ice pass, but it was intercepted by Wilson and there were no Caps in site. Wilson had scored Colorado's first goal and looked like he was about the score the second on the breakaway. Instead, he was denied by Holtby. Just 4:29 later, John Carlson tallied the go-ahead goal for Washington. That is essentially a two-goal swing in five minutes.

The penalty kill

The Caps took four penalties on the night and two of them were from one of their top defenseman in John Carlson. Colorado, however, walked away with nothing to show for it. The Caps took one penalty in the first and two in the second when the game was still in doubt. If they had given up a goal on any of those opportunities, it likely is a very different game. Instead, Washington killed off all four penalties they faced making sure the power play was not a factor for the Avalanche.

MORE CAPITALS: A TIMELINE FOR OSHIE'S RETURN TO THE CAPS IS COMING INTO FOCUS

Quick Links

Tarik's Three Stars of Capitals-Avalanche: That's more like it

vrana-kuznetsovs-capitals.png

Tarik's Three Stars of Capitals-Avalanche: That's more like it

WASHINGTON — One night after struggling in Brooklyn, Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Caps rebounded with a solid 5-2 victory over Nathan MacKinnon and the Avalanche at Capital One Arena.

The last 10 games for the Caps? How about 8-2-0?

In fact, it’s now been a month since Washington has lost back-to-back games. 

Here are Tarik El-Bashir's 3 stars of the game.

RELATED: LATEST NHL POWER RANKINGS

No. 1 Brett Connolly, Capitals:

Since getting scratched late last month, Connolly has been one of the Caps’ most productive players.

And that did not change against the Avs. No. 10 put the game out of reach, 3-1, early in the third period, firing a pass from Madison Bowey past Semyon Varlamov and into a yawning net on a delayed penalty.

The goal was Connolly’s fourth goal in six games…all since getting scratched by Coach Barry Trotz for ineffectiveness. Bowey, meantime, recorded a pair of assists for his second multi-point game.  

No. 2 Jakub Vrana, Capitals:

The speedy winger put the Caps up 1-0 early in the first period with a perfectly-placed snipe over Varlamov’s blocker. 

The goal was Vrana’s ninth of the season and fifth in the last 10 games. The rookie is now on pace for 24 goals—the number Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams each hit a year ago. 

No. 3  Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals:

Kuznetsov finished the game with a couple of primary assists and a secondary helper. It marked his fourth performance this season with at least three points. And while big nights from No. 92 have become almost commonplace, they're still something to savor. Sorta like that pass to Matt Niskanen on the Caps' fourth goal. 

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.