The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks made their way to Verizon Center on Thursday night for their only appearance in DC for the 2015-2016 regular season. The Capitals lines featured Chandler Stephenson in his first NHL game, and Taylor Chorney with his first appearance as a Washington Capital. The complete lines for the Capitals on Thursday night:
Holtby vs. Darling
The Capitals started the game playing with much more energy and a much higher compete level than their effort on Tuesday night against the Sharks. TJ Oshie started the scoring, netting his first goal as a Capital. The assists came from John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Capitals out-shot the Blackhawks 9-5 in SOG, 21-9 in shot attempts, and led 13-8 in hits. Draws were all even at five apiece. The Capitals goalie Braden Holtby made some big stops on the Blackhawks to keep Chicago off the scoreboard.
The Capitals continued to put consistent pressure on Scott Darling in the second period. John Carlson finally scored on a turnaround slapshot to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. Stanislav Galiev collected the lone assist on the power play goal.
Braden Holtby continued his strong performance, turning aside all 17 Chicago shots. The Capitals fired just seven shots on Darling, scoring on one.
Matt Niskanen made it 3-0 with a wrister from the point, with assists from Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky. Chicago finally got one passed Holtby when defenseman Viktor Svedberg scored early in the 3rd period. Alex Ovechkin netted his second goal in as many games he’s played so far this season on a nifty tic-tax goal play with fellow countryman Evgeny Kuznetsov.
Final: Capitals win 4-1
Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and led all skaters in shots (6). He has earned three points in his last two games (10/10-10/15: 2g, 1a). Ovechkin now sits two points shy of 900 NHL points (477g, 421a).
Evgeny Kuznetsov registered two assists tonight in his 100th NHL game (14g, 34a).
Tonight marked John Carlson’s second multi-point game of the season (10/10: 2a) and his 34th career multi-point game. Carlson led all skaters in ice time (25:01).
Stanislav Galiev’s assist marked his first NHL assist and his second NHL point (4/11 vs. NYR: 1g).
The Capitals entered the game ranked second on the power play and 17th on the penalty kill.
The Capitals improved to 26-15-5-1 all-time against Chicago at home and have now won five straight home games against the Blackhawks (10/11/08-10/15/15).
Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals’ 272nd consecutive sellout at Verizon Center.