The Capitals were again taken down to the wire by the New York Rangers, but Alex Ovechkin won in a shootout as Alex Georgiev threw his stick on Ovechkin's attempt giving him the automatic goal and the 3-2 win.
Here are five reasons the Caps won.
A quick response
For the fifth straight time, Washington gave up a goal in the first four minutes of the game as Ryan Strome scored just 45 seconds in. Luckily for Washington, they did not trail for very long.
Carl Hagelin took a puck along the wall and tried to cut toward the net and backhanded a pass to the middle. The pass was blocked by a sliding Libor Hajek, but Georgiev had already slid off the post in anticipation of the pass. The blocked puck came right back to Hagelin who fired the quick shot to the empty space Georgiev had left open.
The goal came just 1:18 after Strome’s quick goal.
Todd Reirden’s lineup change
Reirden used the same players from Friday’s win over the New York Islanders, but there was one small change to the lineup. Up to the third line was Hagelin while Andre Burakovsky moved down to the fourth. Reirden had made that switch in the third period of Friday’s game and he stuck with it for Sunday. The move quickly paid off.
Hagelin scored just 2:03 into the game and Andre Burakovsky added a goal of his own at 10:02. Burakovsky entered the zone along the right, cut to the middle and waited for Nick Jensen to plant himself right in front of the face of Alex Georgiev.
For the second straight game, Washington completely dominated possession with a 59.76-percent Corsi-For percentage.
The second period was particularly dominant for Washington as they outshot the Rangers 20-7. The difference for New York was Georgiev. He robbed Ovechkin, preventing him from getting goal No. 46 on the season as he stretched out the blocker just in time to keep the shot out. He also had a kick save late in the third to deny Tom Wilson right on the doorstep and another big save to deny an Ovechkin breakaway in overtime.
If not for Georgiev, the Caps could have and should have been running away with this game through 40 minutes.
Holtby was not nearly as tested as his counterpart Georgiev, but when he was, he came up big. Holtby made an incredible save off the mask to deny a wide-open Pavel Buchnevich on overtime. He finished the game with 22 saves on 24 shots and also stopped two out of four shots on the shootout, making a nice glove save on Mika Zibanejad.
A thrown stick
Ovechkin had a chance to win the game in the shootout. He skated in on Georgiev, deked and looked like he had Georgiev beat. Georgiev then let go of his stick and it slid to knock the puck off the stick of Ovechkin denying him the shot. Ovechkin immediately protested and the referees discussed the play. Originally, the referees decided it was a failed opportunity for Ovechkin, but the horn soon blew from Toronto. After further discussing things with the war room, the goal was correctly awarded giving the Caps the 3-2 win.
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