The Capitals pulled out a thrilling 7-5 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night at the Canadian Tire Centre on the back of standout offensive performances from their stars.
There was hardly any defense, dueling hat tricks and a climb up the all-time goals leaderboard by the Capitals’ captain. Here’s how it happened:
Second period roller coaster
After the first 20 minutes, Monday’s game looked like it’d be a walk in the park for the Capitals. The Senators had other ideas.
After Washington took a commanding 4-1 lead in the first period, Ottawa struck three times in about six minutes to tie the game at 4-4 midway through the game. For a while, it looked like they'd stolen momentum.
That was, however, until Alex Ovechkin found open ice and buried a beautiful breakaway for his sixth goal of the season and No. 736 all-time. And with just a few seconds left in the second period, T.J. Oshie slammed home his third goal of the night to give the Capitals a two-goal lead when it seemed, just minutes prior, they’d be fighting to avoid a deficit.
Washington came out of the gate determined to put Monday’s game away before anyone had time to settle in.
After falling down 1-0 early in the game, the Caps poured on the offense with four goals in less than 10 minutes (including two strikes from Oshie) to take a commanding 4-1 lead. In the process, they chased Ottawa starting goalie Anton Forsberg after he faced 16 shots and allowed four goals.
The defense was heavily involved in the play in the first period, as Trevor van Riemsdyk received a primary assist on Oshie’s first goal, which was followed by goals from Nick Jensen and John Carlson for the third and fourth markers of the night.
Oshie’s big night
Oshie earned the first hat trick of the season for the Capitals, and he did it in just under 40 minutes.
He scored two goals in the first period to put the Capitals up 2-1, and then had one trickle into the net to give the Capitals a 6-4 lead with just over seven seconds left in the second period. It was his first hat trick since his emotional night May 5 last season against the New York Rangers following the passing of his father.
Oshie's third, and the team’s sixth overall, ended up being mighty important as it stood as the team’s winner.
McMichael on the scoresheet
Connor McMichael landed on the scoresheet for the first time in his career in his fourth NHL game and it was only fitting that he reached that milestone in Canada.
In the team’s first-period onslaught, McMichael received a secondary assist on Oshie’s second goal of the night to get on the scoresheet. He was on a line with Anthony Mantha and Oshie, a line which typically controlled the play when it was on the ice together. He also got the lone assist on Oshie’s hat trick goal at the end of the second period.
Absent Nicklas Backstrom, the youngster has played well in his full-time start to NHL hockey. Now, he’s got two points to show for it.
Ovechkin continues strong start
Alex Ovechkin scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season, and 736th and 737th all-time, on a breakaway in the second period and a wrister in the third to move him closer to Brett Hull’s mark of 741 career goals for fourth all time.
He’s been red hot to start the season and has seven goals and five assists in the team’s first six games of the year. Now, he’s just 29 goals away from Jaromir Jagr’s third-place mark of 766 career tallies. At the rate Ovechkin is going, reaching that won’t be a problem this season.