WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin was bloodied in the first period, but returned to score three goals to lead the Capitals to the 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. The hat trick was the 25th of his career and gave him 31 goals on the season.
Here is how the Caps won.
A good start
One reason the Caps lost to the Devils on Saturday was because of an awful start to that game. New Jersey took a 1-0 lead in a sleepy period for Washington and the Caps did not recover. Well, they came out flying in this one.
In the first 3:30 of the game, goalie Louis Domingue had to make an unreal goal line save, T.J. Oshie hit the post and Carl Hagelin had a goal called back on an offside review. The score may have been 0-0, but Washington set the tone early in a way they were not able to do at any point on Saturday.
Ovechkin's crazy first period
Do not make Ovechkin angry. Miles Wood made that mistake as he hit Ovechkin with a high-stick away from the play in the first period, leaving Ovechkin with a bloody mouth.
Ovechkin left for the locker room to get some repairs, but of course returned soon after because that's what he does. A pissed off Ovechkin then proceeded to run roughshod over the Devils, scoring twice before the period even ended to give Washington the 2-0 lead.
Ovechkin's second goal was yet another milestone for the Great 8 as it was his 30th of the season, marking the 15th straight season he has scored at least 30 goals.
And that was just the first period. You can read the full story of Oveckin's crazy first 20 minutes here.
Hagelin would not be denied
Coming into Thursday's game, Carl Hagelin had managed only one goal on the season. It must have stung when his goal early in the game was called back after a coach's challenge determined the goal was offside.
Hagelin, however, did not give up.
Louis Domingue suffered a lower-body injury and was replaced by Corey Schneider for the second period. Hagelin was sure to test him early and scored just 16 seconds into the second period. This time, the goal would stand.
Hagelin's goal was the result of a forced turnover by the forecheck of the third line. Lars Eller pressured defenseman Damon Severson in the corner forcing a quick pass that Blake Coleman could not handle. Richard Panik grabbed the loose puck, passed to Eller, who set up Hagelin in the slot for the goal.
In the third period, a shorthanded goal for Coleman pulled the Devils to within one. Washington sucked all the momentum away from New Jersey three minutes later when Dmitry Orlov stepped in front of Will Butcher's pass for a defensive zone turnover. He fired a shot on net and there was a battle in front for the rebound. Pavel Zacha finally got a stick to it, but only managed a weak clear attempt that ended up going right to Jakub Vrana in the slot. Vrana fired it home to restore Washington's two-goal lead.
A double-minor review
With less than seven minutes remaining in the third, the clock was ticking on New Jersey's comeback hopes. That comeback was given new life as Michal Kempny was given a double-minor for high-sticking Nikita Gusev. The paly, however, was reviewed and showed that Gusev was actually hit by the puck and not Kempny's stick. Kempny's stick knocked the puck into Gusev, but Kempny only caught his shoulder.
After a review, the penalty was rescinded and Kempny could breathe a sigh of relief.
The hat trick
Was there ever any doubt after how the first period went? Ovechkin finished off the hat trick and the Devils in the third period thanks to a ridiculous spin pass from Tom Wilson that set up the captain right on the doorstep.
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