Marcus Johansson scored twice to lead the Caps to the 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday.
How it happened: Johansson and Tom Wilson scored 15 seconds apart in the first period as the Caps held a 2-1 lead in the first period. Johansson added a second in the second period to make up for a goal that was disallowed on a coach's challenge from Vancouver as the Caps outpaced the Canucks to the 5-2 win.
What it means: The win snaps Washington's two-game skid. Two losses hardly feels like a streak, but it was unfamiliar territory for the Caps as Wednesday's loss to Edmonton marked the first time since March 2015 that the team had lost two consecutive regular season games in regulation.
Shiny and new: Barry Trotz was looking to spark some players with his new lines and it worked. In addition to Johansson's two goals, Wilson scored his first goal (and point) of the season in the first period and Evgeny Kuznetsov assisted on Wilson's goal and nearly added a goal of his own on a second-period breakaway. The Caps certainly looked more like their old selves with extended time in the offensize zone, more odd-man rushes and strong cycling.
Late scares: The Caps may have controlled play, but they led by only one goal at the end of both the first and second periods. Why was the margin so tight? Late goals. The Caps stunned Vancouver with two goals in 15 seconds in the first period, but a Jannik Hansen goal with six seconds remaining in the first made the score 2-1. With the Caps holding a 3-1 lead in the second, Bo Horvat struck with less than three minutes remaining in the period to once again cut the lead to one.
Grubauer the great: Philipp Grubauer looked very strong in net in his second start as he urned aside 23 of the 25 shots to improve to 2-0-0 on the season. Grubauer is expected to get more starts this year as the team tries not to overburden Braden Holtby in the regular season and he certainly seems to be earning the extra work based on his first two performances.
Feeling special: Much has been made about the Caps' struggles on both the power play and penalty kill this season, but both units showed signs of life Saturday. Johansson's second-period goal came on the man advantage in one of only two power play opportunities the team had on the night. Washington meanwhile managed to kill off all three of Vancouver's power play opportunities including a critical kill in the third period as they clung to a one-goal lead.
Look ahead: It’s a quick turnaround for the Caps as they return to action Sunday night in Calgary. They then head to Winnipeg to face the Jets Tuesday to close out the road trip.
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