WASHINGTON -- Dmitry Orlov scored the game-winning goal in overtime as the Capitals rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Capital One Arena on Friday.
Orlov had earlier hit the post in the second period as he continued a goal drought that has lasted since he scored in the first game of the season. The Capitals rallied from two goals down twice. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana also scored goals in the win.
Washington remains tied with the Boston Bruins for most standings points in the NHL with 41 after improving to 18-4-5.
Here is how Washington won:
The Capitals don’t win this game without their penalty kill coming up big against the third-best group in the NHL. The Lightning did score a power-play goal in the first period when Brayden Point ripped a shot past goalie Braden Holtby with 70 seconds to go in a first period largely controlled by Washington. But after that the Capitals killed the next three penalties they took, including an interference call Alex Ovechkin at 5:19 of the third with the score still 3-2 Tampa Bay.
The Lightning power play is great. But special teams isn’t just one side of the ice. The Capitals aren’t far behind at 5thin the NHL on the power play entering the night. T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov showed why on a rush at 5:17 of the second period. Oshie took quick passes up ice from John Carlson and Jakub Vrana and found Kuznetsov streaking across the ice for a tap in. It was a beautiful play and cut the lead to 2-1 at the time.
And when they really needed a goal, down 3-2 with time running down in the third period, Ovechkin did what he always seems to do against the Lightning: Scored on a one timer on the power. He beat Andrei Vasilevskiy from the left circle on a pass from Orlov. Those two power-play goals tipped the special teams scale over to Washington and led to the comeback.
Dmitry Orlov finally catches a break
You couldn’t blame Orlov for being frustrated. He scored in the season opener against St. Louis and hasn’t had one since. That includes a number of posts and crossbars and broken sticks on golden scoring chances, including in the second period. Well, with his parents watching on a visit to Washington luck finally went Orlov’s way. He took a feed from Kuznetsov in overtime and scored the game winner at 3:03 of the extra period to give the Capitals the win.
After a slow start, Braden Holtby has caught fire. He entered the game with a .931 save percentage in nine starts in November, good for sixth in the NHL over that stretch. That will drop a bit after allowing three goals on 30 shots against the Lightning, but the Capitals don’t win this game without him. Holtby stoned Tyler Johnson on a break at 7:08 of the second period to keep the score 2-1. He was a big part of the final three successful penalty kills. And he improved to 8-1-1 in 10 starts in November.
The second line has been in flux since Nicklas Backstrom went out with an upper body injury. Lars Eller has moved up into that role. Oshie had gone four games without a point entering play Friday. But that changed fast. He assisted on Kuznetsov’s power-play goal, which was a thing of beauty at full speed. He also caused the Tampa turnover just outside the blueline, got the puck back inside the zone and found Vrana for maybe the wackiest goal of the season. He one-timed Oshie’s pass and it appeared Vasilevskiy made a routine glove save.
Not quite. Whether he thought he had it or was just being petty, the Russian goalie had been beat and the puck was underneath padding in the back of the net. Either way, it was the second of three Oshie assists on the night and his first three-point game of the year. He’s now at 10 goals and eight assists.
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