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Alex Ovechkin's 3rd period natural hat trick to powers Caps past Kings

Alex Ovechkin's 3rd period natural hat trick to powers Caps past Kings

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.

Braden Holtby

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.

Dueling 3-on-2s

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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Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Welcome to Club Ovechkin hosted by yours truly, Sergei!

Wednesday afternoon Nastya Ovechkin posted the cutest video of her son Sergei, now 19-months-old and showing off his dance moves.

Sergei was getting down to Зацепила (“Hooked”) by musician and family friend Arthur Pirozhkov.

He's got some moves for a one-year-old so who knows what other skills he'll get from momma and papa Ovechkin. 

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With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 3

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 3

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 3, a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 9 that featured a complete effort from the Capitals, a first for Jonas Siegenthaler and some pregame espionage from Brent Johnson. 

You can re-watch the game tonight on NBC Sports Washington at 8pm. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

In a 2018 Stanley Cup Finals rematch, and perhaps a matchup you could see in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Washington came out flying. Dmitry Orlov feathered a perfect two-line pass past three Golden Knights defenders and right to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov had no problem beating Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury 58 seconds into the game 

 

The Capitals make it 2-0 just minutes later. Amid a line change, the Knights coughed up the puck in their own end. Tom Wilson, who was about to go off the ice, jumped back into the attack and beat Fleury with a wrist shot. 

 

Two Vegas goals sandwiched a Siegenthaler tally to make it 3-2 Capitals entering the third period. Enter Nicklas Backstrom. His first goal came on the power play. With all the Knights attention focused on Ovechkin, Backstrom threw a wrister on Fleury from the right faceoff circle. Fleury got a piece of it, but let it trickle through for the score.  

 

Backstrom scored a rare empty-net goal late in the period instead of deferring to Ovechkin. The Capitals owned the third period on their way to an impressive 5-2 win. 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

Siegenthaler made his NHL debut on Nov. 9 in 2018. Exactly one year later he scored his first career goal. Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd executed a picture-perfect dump-and-chase. Boyd waited in the corner for a line change and fed Siegenthaler, who was streaking to the net without anyone marking him. 

  

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

If you look at the rest of my Top 10 Caps wins, most of the games are exciting comebacks or see-saw affairs. Games that were generally exciting to watch or something crazy happened. This game makes the list because it’s peak Washington Capitals. This team was playing almost flawless hockey from the middle of October through the end of November. This was Washington’s sixth straight win. In this game, the Caps got more shots, earned more power plays, won more faceoffs, blocked more shots and out-hit their opponent. And they weren’t playing the Ducks (entry #9) or the Kings (#7). The Vegas Golden Knights were - and are - a legitimate Western Conference contender. I would argue that the Capitals win over Vegas was their best 60-minute effort against a quality opponent all season long.  
 
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 

Backstrom was an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick. Backstrom and T.J. Oshie started a bit of a fight towards the end of the second period. Not a shock to see the Caps and Knights chirp at each other, but it was unusual to see those two at the center of it. 

 

If Fleury looked a little sluggish, he might have had a good excuse. NBC Sports Washington’s Brent Johnson, who played with Fleury in Pittsburgh, took his good friend out to a big steak dinner the night before the game. That’s how you work the long con. Good job, Johnny. 

 

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