The Capitals defeated the St. Louis Blues on Thanksgiving eve 4-3 thanks to a strong showing from Alex Ovechkin and company.
How it happened: Carter Hutton had an impressive night in goal for the Blues, but Alex Ovechkin was too much. Ovechkin got things started in the first period thanks to a one-timer on a power play, one of the six penalties called in the first stanza. In the second period, Ovechkin pushed a one-timer wide of Hutton, but the puck made its way back to him seconds later on a carom, and Ovechkin found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. But just seconds later, Vladimir Tarasenko pushed one past Braden Holtby off an assist from Dimitrij Jaskin.
Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal in the third period — to go along with one assist — off a nifty pass from Dmitry Orlov to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. Less than a minute later, Ovechkin found the back of the net again on a beautiful wrist shot for the hat trick. With just over a minute left in the game, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored on a power play to cut the deficit to 4-2. Then, with 30 seconds left, Carter Hutton went to the bench and the Blues scored with a man advantage thanks to Tarasenko, making it 4-3.
What it means: The Caps got off to another fast start, taking a 1-0 lead to the first intermission. The Capitals have outscored their opponents 22-8 in the first period this season. With three games left in November, the Caps have put together a 7-3-1 record in the penultimate month on the calendar.
Alex OvechKing of Multi-goal games: Alex Ovechkin scored thrice — one-timers from his sweet spot in the first and second period, and a blistering wristshot in the third for a hat trick. When the second goal found the back of the net, Ovechkin officially moved atop the list of players with the most multi-goal games since 1995. Ovechkin has found the back of the net at least twice in 110 games. He made his NHL debut in 2005.
The last time the Capitals faced the Blues — April 9 of last season — Ovechkin put up a hat trick as well.
So. Many. Penalties: The referees blew the whistle six times in the first period. The Caps got 23 seconds of 5-on-3 time and nearly a full session of 4-on-4 action. The two teams cut down on the penalties in the second, with the Capitals heading to the box twice, and the Blues just once. The Third period was much cleaner, but a late
Tale of two nets: Carter Hutton was a busy man for the Blues. The backup netminder faced 25 shots, turning away 21, including a beautiful lunging save to deny Andre Burakovsky in the second period. On the flipside, Braden Holtby had an easy night, thanks to the Capitals' offense dominating time of possession. Holtby faced 21 shots, turning away 18, most of them coming late in the game. Matt Niskanen had a strong showing on defense, which led to the Caps keeping the puck away from Holtby's crease.
Look ahead: The Caps return to Verizon Center on Friday to host the Buffalo Sabres before heading north of the border to face off against rookie phenom Austen Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Caps then have four days off before returning to the ice to face the Islanders at home on Thursday, Dec. 1.