The Caps pulled off an improbable 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes as they scored the game-tying and game-winning goal both in the final four minutes of the third period.
It looked like the Caps were headed for two regulation losses at the hands of the Hurricanes in as many nights, but late goals from Brett Connolly and Jay Beagle saved a victory from the jaws of defeat. Here is how the Caps managed the unbelievable win.
How many times have you watched the Caps and yelled, "Shoot the puck!"? Probably a lot. Washington ranks dead last in the NHL in shots per game and there are definitely times when the team seems to give up opportunities to look for the "perfect" play. When it came to those two late goals, however, there was no hesitation. Noah Hanifin made an egregious mistake as he threw the puck up the middle in the defensive zone. Connolly was the first to the puck and he simply fired it on net. There was no stick-handling, no fakes, no ill-advised passes, just a one-touch shot and a goal. With the clock winding down in the final minute of regulation, Nicklas Backstrom sent a pass to Beagle and he didn't have time to do anything but sweep the bouncing puck in.
The power play
On Thursday, the Caps went 0-for-3 on the power play and it was a definite factor in their loss. On Friday, it helped them win. Lars Eller scored a power play goal on the team's first opportunity in the first period to tie the game at 1. Alex Ovechkin also scored from the office at the start of the second. The goal was scored as the penalty expired so while it does not officially count as a power play tally, it essentially was. Washington finished 1-for-4 with the extra man, 2-for-4 if you count Ovechkin's goal.
Who has the longest goal streak this season for the Caps? It's not Ovechkin or Oshie, but Eller who now has scored a goal in each of the last four games and has five goals in the last seven. The third line was again Washington's best on the net with Eller at center.
The top six
The Caps' top playmakers had been notably quiet of late, but they contributed in a big way in Carolina. Ovechkin scored from the office and added two assists, Backstrom assisted on the miracle Beagle goal and both Vrana and Kuznetsov chipped in assists as well.