Alex Ovechkin tallied goals No. 48 and 49, Nicklas Backstrom chipped in with a beauty and Shane Gersich notched his first career point for the Caps, who closed out the regular season with a 5-3 victory over the Taylor Hall-less Devils on Saturday in D.C.
For the better part of a month, the Caps talked about finishing off the regular season with purpose and entering the postseason with momentum. And with the win—their 12th in the final 15 games—Ovechkin and Co. have done just that.
Tarik’s three stars of the game:
1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals
Ovechkin scored goals in the first and third periods and took a legitimate run at 50, finishing with 18 shot attempts.
Alas, he wasn’t able to get there (despite a late breakaway and a couple of power plays) and wrapped up just a goal short of an eighth 50-goal season. No. 8 did, however, seize his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy while also becoming only the second player at 32 or older to lead the league in goals. (Bobby Hull also led the NHL in goal seven times.)
2-Nicklas Backstrom, Capitals
Backstrom roofed a sweet pass from Brett Connolly late in the first period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.
After a slow start to the season, Backstrom finished the season with 21 goals and 70 points. Backstrom’s final 15 games? How about five goals and 16 assists.
3-Michal Kempny, Capitals
Kempny put the Caps ahead 3-1 in the second period with a point blast that was set up by Gersich. The goal was Kempny’s third of the season and second since joining in February.
The Czech blue liner, however, wasn’t done. In the third period, he pinched in deep and slid a deft pass to Andre Burakovsky, who stuck the puck past Cory Schneider to put the game away, 5-3.
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