WASHINGTON -- A huge fight in the second that resulted in the ejection of Garnet Hathway stole all the attention from Monday's game between the Capitals and Anaheim. On the scoresheet and in the standings, however, it will still count as two points as the Caps defeated the Ducks with little trouble, 5-2.
Here's how the Caps won.
Panik's first goal
Coming into Monday's contest, Richard Panik had zero points in his first 12 games as a Cap. He finally got the monkey off his back on Monday 50 seconds into the game.
The third line had a dominant shift early in the game, keeping possession with strong forecheck work and cycling the puck. Travis Boyd, playing in his second game after getting recalled from Hershey, took a pass and found Panik from behind the net. Panik had room and fired a wrist shot to the opposite corner, beating John Gibson for his first of the year.
Panik has played well since returning from LTIR but has been robbed by goalies like Carter Hart, Cary Price, and Jaroslav Halak. That first one must feel like a huge relief.
Kuznetsov fakes on the power play
The Caps had only one opportunity on the power play Monday, but took advantage thanks to an epic fake by Evgeny Kuznetsov. John Carlson fed Kuznetsov near the blue line and he inched his way towards the net. He got to the top of the faceoff circle, lifted his leg and looked like he was about to wrist one on net. That's what I thought, that's what Gibson thought, that's what the penalty killers thought. Instead, Kuznetsov fed Alex Ovechkin in the office, giving him an empty net to shoot on.
Give Ovechkin an open net from the office and he's going to finish that play.
Stephenson scores before all hell breaks loose
Just when things were getting crazy, Chandler Stephenson took a pass from Hathaway and fired a wrister from the high-slot to beat Gibson. Except no one noticed. Right before the pass, Brendan Leipisic crushed Derek Grant at the goal line and it was on. It was not even clear if the goal counted until the players were finally separated several minutes later. When it stood, the score was 3-0 and the game was over because, at that point, both teams were focused on all the extracurriculars.
A goal and a goal washed out
Jakub Vrana added an exclamation point in the third period to make the score 4-0. Anaheim also had a goal washed out as Rickard Rakell was called for incidental contact for clipping Holtby in the shoulder, spinning him before the shot was fired. Anaheim mustered a minor comeback bid in the third, but Vrana's goal and the Ducks' no-goal made the lead insurmountable.
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