The San Jose Sharks jumped out to an early lead, but it was all Capitals after that as Washington cruised to the 5-2 win on Tuesday in their first of three games in California. Garnet Hathaway and Jakub Vrana each scored twice while John Carlson recorded three points to lead the Caps to the dominant win.
Here is how Washington won.
The 4th line
Considering the elite offensive talent on this team, it is easy to forget about the fourth line. The Brendan Leipsic, Nic Dowd, Garnet Hathaway trio, however, was the best unit on the ice by far, especially Hathaway who scored two goals.
Hathaway put the Caps on the board in the first period as he charged to the net and redirected a shot past goalie Martin Jones. he appeared to make contact with Jones' stick as he cut to the front of the net but after deflecting the puck past him. The Sharks ended up not challenging.
The fourth line's forecheck gave San Jose fits all game long, but in the second period, it turned into Hathaway's second goal. Nic Dowd stole the puck away in the offensive zone then centered it to a streaking Hathaway who took off for the net the moment he saw Dowd come up with the puck.
3 goals in 3:01
San Jose opened the scoring when Melker Karlsson beat Braden Holtby less than three minutes into the game. The game turned in the later half of the first period when a flurry of goals found their way into the back of the Sharks' net, giving Washing a 3-1 lead and turning the game on its head.
Hathway tied the game at 1, Jakub Vrana scored his first of two goals 53 seconds later and John Carlson scored 2:08 after that. Carlson also assisted on the Hathaway, Vrana goals giving him three points in the first period.
Boy, the Sharks look baffled in this one. The Caps are one of the top offensive teams in the NHL. Considering how much room San Jose was giving Washington to work with in this game, it's no wonder why the Caps were able to put up five goals.
Jakub Vrana was so wide-open in the slot on the first goal that he was able to get off the initial shot and the rebound before any defensemen got close to him.
When Carlson scored later in the first period, he was literally the only player on the right side of the ice when Michal Kempny got him the puck. He had plenty of time to aim the shot before releasing the slapper to beat Jones.
In the second period, Vrana managed to get free again, this time in the high-slot. He had plenty of room to fire a one-timer for his second goal of the game.
Washington took a 5-1 lead into the third period. That probably would have been good enough to win, but you never know. Evander Kane made it 5-2, but then effectively finished the game with a dirty hit to the head of Radko Gudas.
There was no denying it, it was a dirty play and it was right to Gudas' head. Kane was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct with 5:01 remaining, thus extinguishing any hope of a miraculous comeback.
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