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Ovechkin scores 700, but Caps still fall in New Jersey

Ovechkin scores 700, but Caps still fall in New Jersey

Alex Ovechkin's historical tally was not enough on Saturday as the Capitals fell 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils. Washington has now lost six of its last seven games as the team continues to skid.

Here is how the Caps lost.

No goals on two early power plays

For a Caps team in desperate need of getting right, they had two golden opportunities to take control against a weak team shedding all of its best players. Tom Wilson drew a roughing call from Connor Carrick at 2:36 and less than a minute after the power play expired, Travis Zajac put Washington right back on the power play with a high-stick to Michal Kempny.

Despite two early opportunities, the Caps did not score a goal and failed to build any offensive momentum at all.

A misplay by Eller

Richard Panik was hooked in the offensive zone and lost the puck, but Dmitry Orlov picked it up and passed to Lars Eller. Eller attempted a soft backhand pass to Carl Hagelin that was picked off by Damon Severson. At that moment, Jesper Bratt bolted down the ice and Severson delivered the pass to send him on the breakaway which Bratt scored after faking a shot to freeze Ilya Samsonov and deking around him.

Todd Reirden was displeased after the goal and benched Eller and Michal Kempny for the remainder of the first period.

Jensen loses his man

Defending against a New Jersey power play, Nick Jensen had to deal with Wayne Simmonds, who parked himself next to the net. That's where Simmonds likes to work and he is very effective there.

Nikita Gusev delivered a pass to the front of the net, but Jensen, anticipating the shot, went down to a knee. He remained there when Bratt tried to redirect the puck on net. The redirect was weak and from the high slot, an easy save for Samsonov had it gotten to him. Instead, it deflected off of Jensen and right to Simmonds who buried the puck.

Third-period penalties

New Jersey gave Washington two power plays to work with in the third period in a tie game. The Caps did not score on either and then returned the favor by giving up two power plays of their own. Evgeny Kuznetsov was called for hooking and Michal Kempny was caught slashing Kyle Palmieri just 71 seconds later.

Damon Severson scored with 1:59 remaining in the game to give New Jersey the 3-2 lead.

Net-front pressure

Washington fired 34 shots on goal for the game so you may be tempted to think a hot goalie stoned them. That's not what happened. Washington did not get nearly enough pressure in front of the net and fired far too many shots from too high in the zone to effectively challenge New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood.

When Tom Wilson parked himself in front of Blackwood on a power play in the second period, the Caps scored. There was not nearly enough of that on Saturday.

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Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Watch: Sergei Ovechkin dancing is the cutest thing you'll see all day

Welcome to Club Ovechkin hosted by yours truly, Sergei!

Wednesday afternoon Nastya Ovechkin posted the cutest video of her son Sergei, now 19-months-old and showing off his dance moves.

Sergei was getting down to Зацепила (“Hooked”) by musician and family friend Arthur Pirozhkov.

He's got some moves for a one-year-old so who knows what other skills he'll get from momma and papa Ovechkin. 

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With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 3

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 3

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 3, a 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 9 that featured a complete effort from the Capitals, a first for Jonas Siegenthaler and some pregame espionage from Brent Johnson. 

You can re-watch the game tonight on NBC Sports Washington at 8pm. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

In a 2018 Stanley Cup Finals rematch, and perhaps a matchup you could see in the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Washington came out flying. Dmitry Orlov feathered a perfect two-line pass past three Golden Knights defenders and right to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov had no problem beating Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury 58 seconds into the game 

 

The Capitals make it 2-0 just minutes later. Amid a line change, the Knights coughed up the puck in their own end. Tom Wilson, who was about to go off the ice, jumped back into the attack and beat Fleury with a wrist shot. 

 

Two Vegas goals sandwiched a Siegenthaler tally to make it 3-2 Capitals entering the third period. Enter Nicklas Backstrom. His first goal came on the power play. With all the Knights attention focused on Ovechkin, Backstrom threw a wrister on Fleury from the right faceoff circle. Fleury got a piece of it, but let it trickle through for the score.  

 

Backstrom scored a rare empty-net goal late in the period instead of deferring to Ovechkin. The Capitals owned the third period on their way to an impressive 5-2 win. 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

Siegenthaler made his NHL debut on Nov. 9 in 2018. Exactly one year later he scored his first career goal. Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd executed a picture-perfect dump-and-chase. Boyd waited in the corner for a line change and fed Siegenthaler, who was streaking to the net without anyone marking him. 

  

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

If you look at the rest of my Top 10 Caps wins, most of the games are exciting comebacks or see-saw affairs. Games that were generally exciting to watch or something crazy happened. This game makes the list because it’s peak Washington Capitals. This team was playing almost flawless hockey from the middle of October through the end of November. This was Washington’s sixth straight win. In this game, the Caps got more shots, earned more power plays, won more faceoffs, blocked more shots and out-hit their opponent. And they weren’t playing the Ducks (entry #9) or the Kings (#7). The Vegas Golden Knights were - and are - a legitimate Western Conference contender. I would argue that the Capitals win over Vegas was their best 60-minute effort against a quality opponent all season long.  
 
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 

Backstrom was an assist short of a Gordie Howe hat trick. Backstrom and T.J. Oshie started a bit of a fight towards the end of the second period. Not a shock to see the Caps and Knights chirp at each other, but it was unusual to see those two at the center of it. 

 

If Fleury looked a little sluggish, he might have had a good excuse. NBC Sports Washington’s Brent Johnson, who played with Fleury in Pittsburgh, took his good friend out to a big steak dinner the night before the game. That’s how you work the long con. Good job, Johnny. 

 

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