The Capitals played one of their worst games of the season on Thursday in Toronto.
Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, they got a win they needed in the worst possible way.
Washington’s 8-4 win in Montreal moved the team closer to getting out of the second wild card spot, and got them back in the win column after Thursday’s disaster. The Capitals are now 42-23-10 on the season.
Here are a few takeaways from the night:
A goal-scoring bonanza
The Capitals have played some of their most lopsided games of the year in the last week, as a 9-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers was followed up by a 7-3 loss in Toronto against the Maple Leafs.
Saturday, they got back into the win column with an eight-goal outburst against one of the worst teams in the league. In the last six games, the Capitals have scored 34 goals.
In the team's last three games, there have been a total of 33 goals scored by both the Capitals and their opponents.
A needed win
By virtue of the Capitals’ win in Montreal, they are now just three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings with two games in hand.
The Penguins have five games left and can finish with a maximum of 107 points. The Capitals have seven games left and can finish with a maximum of 108 points. Should the Capitals catch the Penguins, they’ll be the third seed in the Metropolitan Division and avoid the No. 1 seed Florida Panthers.
The Capitals can also catch the Boston Bruins, a team they trail by three points. Both teams have seven games left.
Either way, the Capitals would be greatly benefitted by moving out of the second wild card spot in the next two weeks.
Anthony Mantha struck twice in 34 seconds in the second period, as he gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead and then extended it just moments later. They were his eighth and ninth goals of the season.
Mantha’s first goal was off a nice pass from Lars Eller as Mantha came streaking down the wing and fired a shot that just got past the goal line. On the same shift, he was sprung for a breakaway and went back-to-back.
The goals were Mantha’s first since March 25, which was eight games ago, in a win against the Buffalo Sabres on the road. It was also his first three-point game as a member of the Capitals, and he finished with four on the night.
Caps turn to Vanecek
Vitek Vanecek earned the start, just his second of the month thus far, and got the win. He made 28 saves on 32 Montreal shots on the night.
Vanecek came on in relief of Ilya Samsonov on Thursday against the Leafs in the Capitals’ big loss in Toronto.
As the Capitals look toward the playoffs, now with just seven games left, both Vanecek and Samsonov will have limited opportunities to prove they should be the No. 1 goalie come May.
Ovechkin inches closer to another milestone
Alex Ovechkin scored his 47th goal of the season in that frantic second period, as he inched closer to yet another 50-goal season.
Were he to get three more goals in the Capitals’ final seven games, he would tie Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky for most 50-goal seasons in NHL history with nine.
Ovechkin’s goal was also No. 777 all-time for the winger, as he continues to close the gap between himself and Gordie Howe, as well as Gretzky.