WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin was held without a shot on goal for over 50 minutes on Tuesday, but he came alive in the third period with a natural hat trick to power the Capitals past the Los Angeles Kings 4-2.
This was Ovechkin's fourth hat trick of the season. He has 14 goals in seven games and is now just two goals shy of 700.
Here is how the Caps won.
It's been a rough season for Holtby, but he was outstanding in net for the Caps on Tuesday and a major reason for the win. He turned aside 29 of the 31 shots he faced to keep the Caps in a game in which they were largely suffocated for 50 minutes.
With Washington trailing 1-0 in the second, Holtby came up with two big saves in the second period. He first denied Tyler Toffoli with the glove on a 2-on-1 then about a minute later flashed the glove again on Austin Wagner who was behind the defense.
Clearly, the Kings were attacking Holtby's glove and Jeff Carter was successful doing so in the first period. After that, however, Holtby slammed the door.
In the second period, Los Angeles snuffed out a cycle by Washington and made a quick transition out of the zone leading to a 3-on-2 break. As the Kings entered the offensive zone, Anze Kopitar got the puck on the wing, but pulled up just past the blue line, which was a mistake. When you pull up at the blue line on the wing, you essentially trap yourself. Unless you are willing to take the puck out into the netural zone, your options are limited. Kopitar tried a backhanded pass, but a back-checking Carl Hagelin intercepted it and chipped it up ice.
The Hagelin pass sparked a 3-on-2 for the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom carried it into the offensive zone and Tom Wilson sprinted to the front of the net. In doing so, he drew Kopitar who was trying to defend which left the trailing John Carlson wide open for the pass from Backstrom and with plenty of time to take aim and fire it past goalie Jonathan Quick.
Ovechkin takes over
The Kings played a great defensive game for about 50 minutes. Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead midway through the third period and had held the Caps to fewer than 20 shots to that point. Ovechkin had zero. That's when the Great 8 took over.
Less than three minutes after Carter gave the Kings the lead, Ovechkin finally got his first shot on goal and it ended up in the back of the net. He took a pass from T.J. Oshie right on the doorstep and chipped it past a sprawling Quick. He did not get all of the puck, but it worked out well, chipping the puck up and over as Quick extended low to try to get in the way of the shot.
Ovechkin gave Washington its first lead of the game just 70 seconds later as he fired a shot that Quick completely lost track of. Ovechkin charged the net and grabbed his own rebound for the goal. He would then add the empty-netter to seal the game for the natural hat trick.
With 10 minutes left in the game, Ovechkin had zero shots on goal and zero points. He finished the game with five shots on goal and a hat trick.
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