Final score: Washington Capitals 6, Anaheim Ducks 4
How it happened: Washington looked like they were going to cruise as they took a 3-0 lead in the third period. Anaheim battled back, however, with two goals in the second and third period to tie the game at 4, but then Zach Sanford stepped in with his first career NHL goal and first game-winning goal to boot.
What it means: The Caps enter the bye week undefeated at home in 2017 with 12 straight home wins. It is also the teams’ sixth straight win overall.
Capitals goal: T.J. Oshie (power play) from Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom at 6:45 in the first. Johansson had the puck to John Gibson’s left, but the defense left him a lane. He took it and drove on net until the defense finally bit, then he sent the puck over to Oshie waiting in the slot. Caps 1, Ducks 0
Capitals goal: Nicklas Backstrom from T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin at 14:35 in the first. Backstrom carried the puck behind the red line and flicked it out to Ovechkin. Gibson stopped the initial shot, but Backstrom was there to backhand in the rebound. Caps 2, Ducks 0
Capitals goal: Tom Wilson from Daniel Winnik and Jay Beagle at 17:48 in the first. Some pressure from Beagle behind the net forced a Ducks turnover. Winnik took the puck, but rather than shoot it, he fed Wilson on the backside for the goal. Caps 3, Ducks 0
Ducks goal: Jakob Silfverberg from Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Getzlaf at 7:16 in the first. Silfverberg skated the puck into the offensive zone and fired a shot to the far-side top corner that beat the blocker of Braden Holtby. Caps 3, Ducks 1
Caps goal: Daniel Winnik (shorthanded) at 10:31 in the second. Winnik pounced on the loose puck in the defensive zone. Anaheim looked like they had him well covered, but he forced the issue and found a seam as the Ducks got their signals crossed. With the open shot, he sent a wrister past Gibson. Caps 4, Ducks 1
Ducks goal: Hampus Lindholm from Ryan Getzlaf and Jakub Silfverberg at 17:36 in the second. Getzlaf looked like he would take the puck behind the net, but just before he did, he switched to the forehand for the sneaky pass to Lindholm in the slot that completely fooled the Caps' defense. Holtby appeared to be the only Cap who knew where the puck was as he stopped Lindholm's first shot, but Lindholm put the puck away on the second opportunity. Caps 4, Ducks 2
Ducks goal: Ryan Kesler from Cam Fowler at 9:38 in the third. Dmitry Orlov tried to wheel the puck around his own net, but he was chased down from behind by Kesler who forced a turnover. Fowler then found Kesler in the high slot for the goal. Caps 4, Ducks 3
Ducks goal: Ryan Getzlaf from Cam Fowler and Kevin Bieksa at 11:48 in the third. Fowler took the puck from behind his own net after the defensive zone draw and fired the long-range pass to launch a streaking Getzlaf on the breakaway. Caps 4, Ducks 4
Caps goal: Zach Sanford from Matt Niskanen and Brett Connolly at 17:21 in the third. Sanford scored his first career NHL goal to break the tie. Caps 5, Ducks 4
Caps goal: Marcus Johansson (empty netter) at 19:47 in the third. Caps 6, Ducks 4
1. Ryan Getzlaf: Getzlaf's assist on Lindholm's goal was a thing of beauty. It completely froze Washington's defense as they could not locate where the puck was allowing Lindholm plenty of time to score. He also had the presence of mind to launch himself down the ice on what looked like an innocent faceoff win for the Ducks that launched him for the breakaway goal.
2. Daniel Winnik: Winnik was fired up after what looked like a slewfoot from Corey Perry early in the game. He tallied an assist in the first period with a heads-up play to pass to a wide open Wilson on the backdoor rather than trying to take the puck on net himself. Winnik was at his best, however' on the penalty kill where he not only frustrated the Ducks' power play, but he also pounced on a loose puck and turned it into a shorthanded goal in the second period.
3. Zach Sanford: His first NHL goal was an important one. The Ducks battled back from 3-0 and 4-1 to tie the game at 4, but Sanford stepped in wiht his first career NHL goal to give the Caps the win.
Look ahead: Saturday’s game was the Caps’ last before the bye week. They will not return to the ice until Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for a 10:30 a.m. practice. They then head to Detroit for an afternoon game against the Red Wings on Saturday.
Tell us what you think: The Caps remain red-hot with their 12th straight win at home and 11th straught home game with five or more goals. But they won't have a chance to keep the momentum going until Saturday after their bye week. Given how well the team is playing, do you think the bye week is coming at a bad time for Washington?