If Friday’s game against the NHL-leading Lightning was the barometer many considered it to be, the Caps’ 3-1 victory certainly proved this much: Despite an uneven recent stretch, Alex Ovechkin and Co. are still capable of beating any team in the league on any given night.
Washington has won two games in a row, three of the last four overall and seven of the last eight on home ice. The Caps now head to Toronto for a Saturday showdown with the Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada.
Tarik’s three stars of the game:
1- Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
The Caps’ captain had some good chances early but passed them up. Then, late in the first period, he called his own number. On an odd-man rush, Nicklas Backstrom moved the puck to Tom Wilson on the right wing, and Wilson fired a perfectly-placed setup to Ovechkin, who drilled a one-timer past Andrei Vasilevskiy. The goal was Ovechkin’s second in two games and moved him into a tie with Mike Bossy for 21st on the all-time goals list (573). Next up is Mark Recchi at 577 and Jari Kurri at 601.
2-Philipp Grubauer, Capitals
After a rough start—he allowed a power play goal just 82 seconds into the game—the Caps’ backup rebounded and had an excellent night, finishing with 25 saves. A bunch of big stops in the second period, highlighted by a point blank save on Ondrej Palat, likely was the difference for the home team. The victory was Grubauer’s first in seven starts this season. Grubauer, who turns 26 on Saturday, is now 4-0-1 all-time against the Bolts.
3-Jay Beagle, Capitals
The fourth line center finished with a goal, a primary assist and a dominant percentage in the faceoff circle. Beagle’s goal was scored, backhanded, into an empty net late to clinch the win. The assist came on a shot that kicked off of Vasilevskiy’s pads right out to Devante Smith Pelly, who buried the rebound for a 2-1 lead. Beagle also won 13 of his 17 draws (82-percent) against a team that thrives on puck possession. With a pair of points, Beagle now has 101 career points.
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