Capitals

Historic night for Ovechkin, Backstrom, Caps in win at Calgary

Capitals

For a team that looked to be in serious trouble just a few games ago, the Capitals appear to have turned the corner. 

In a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, they've now strung together three-straight wins two of which have come against the NHL's best. And, for the cherry on top, Alex Ovechkin tied Jaromir Jagr for third all-time on the league's all-time goals list with 766.

The Capitals are now 31-18-9 on the season. 

Here are a few takeaways from the night in Canada: 

Ovechkin makes history

Ovechkin already made history with teammate Nicklas Backstrom as they played game No. 1,000 together. He inched closer to individual history, too. 

Ovechkin tied Jagr for third all-time with an empty-net goal, which actually turned out to be the game winner in a 5-4 thriller. He then nearly took sole possession of third on a late rush down the ice when he missed a wide-open cage.

It’s just a matter of time for Ovechkin to be alone in third place now and he’ll get the chance against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

A late rally

The Capitals' stars made history, but the role players helped get the win with a pair of goals in the third from Anthony Mantha and Nic Dowd to put Washington ahead for good in a massive one-goal victory. 

 

It was Mantha who tied the game after a strong night for the second-line winger and Dowd who put the team ahead after momentum was seized. 

Washington withstood a late push from Calgary, including a 6-on-5 goal that made Ovechkin's empty-netter stand up as the winner.  

Ovechkin and Backstrom hit 1k

The famed Capitals duo hit their 1,000th game played together on Tuesday as the steady center and electric wing added another notch to their Capitals accolades. 

They are the first two players to play 1,000 games for the franchise and just the ninth set of teammates in NHL history to have topped 1,000 games together. 

Sheary's scoring continues

Conor Sheary added another reason Tuesday why he’s one of, by production and contract cost, the most valuable Capitals this season. 

He scored his 15th goal of the season in the second period to cut the Flames’ lead to 2-1 and brought himself to within a goal of Evgeny Kuznetsov for third on the team. At just a $1.5 million cap hit per season, and now on the third line for good with Mantha back in the lineup, Sheary has proven himself to be an incredibly dangerous player and perfect for that type of role. 

Sheary is now on a four-game point streak with four goals and two assists over that stretch.

Mantha back on board

The Capitals have missed Mantha in a big way after he had shoulder surgery early in the season. And on a night when he had chance after chance early on, Mantha finally found the back of the net in the third period to tie the game at 3-3. On that goal, Backstrom earned the primary assist for point No. 998. He, too, is closing in on history with 1,000 career points just two away now. Backstrom would become the 93rd player in NHL history to reach that mark.  

It was Mantha's first goal since returning to the lineup after shoulder surgery in November and his first marker since Oct. 21. With Mantha back in the lineup, the Capitals have a more balanced lineup and, for the time being, have strung together some of their most impressive moments of 2022.