Gabriel Landeskog had a hat trick to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a dominating 6-2 win over the lethargic Washington Capitals, who wrapped up a two-game winless road trip at Pepsi Center on Thursday night. Landeskog opened the scoring 17 seconds into the game and closed out the scoring with just 25 seconds left. Philipp Grubauer remains winless.
The Capitals were looking to bounce back from an ugly 6-3 setback in Nashville on Tuesday. Grubauer got the nod and was seeking his first start of the season and Jakub Vrana was a healthy scratch for the Capitals, who wrapped up a short two-game road trip in Denver. The Avalanche played their first game since playing back-to-back games last weekend against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm, Sweden, as part of the NHL Global Series last Friday and Saturday. Going into this contest, the Avalanche had lost three straight while Washington had won five of their past seven contests.
The game marked yet another milestone for Alex Ovechkin. With 941 games played, Ovechkin passed Kelly Miller for third on the all-time franchise games played list. Only Calle Johansson, with 983 games, and Peter Bondra, with 961, have played more games than Ovechkin.
Scoring: Gabriel Landeskog struck 17 seconds in after a Caps turnover at the red line. He sniped one from just above the left dot to make it 1-0 Colorado.
Just when the Capitals were starting to build momentum at the end of period, Nathan MacKinnon danced around Brett Connolly and went top shelf on Phillipp Grubauer with seven seconds remaining in the period, making it 2-0 Avs.
The Good: The Capitals won 68% of the faceoffs in the first period. They blocked 10 shots and led 12-10 in shots after one period of play. They also had five takeaways.
The Bad: Brett Connolly got undressed by MacKinnon on the second Avalanche goal.
The Ugly: The Capitals got off to another slow start, giving up the first goal of the game for the fifth time in the last six contests. They also fell behind 2-0 in the first period for the second consecutive game. The first goal came 17 seconds into the game and the second goal with 6 seconds remaining in the period.
Scoring: Colin Wilson pounced on a loose rebound from a Nathan MacKinnon shot with 7:35 left in the period to make it 3-0 Colorado. That was Wilson’s first goal as an Av since being acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators on July 1.
Brett Connolly cut the Avalanche’s lead to two with his second goal of the year. Tom Wilson fed Connolly in front of the goal crease after a turnover from Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson. It trickled past Varlamov to give the Capitals some life and cut the lead to 3-1.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 17, 2017
The Good: The Capitals killed off three Avalanche power plays through two periods. They won 66% of faceoffs through 40 minutes and blocked 13 shots, had seven takeaways, and only three giveaways. They also had 15 hits. The Capitals succeded a challenge in the final minute of the period and got out of the second period down by two.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 17, 2017
The Bad: The Capitals went 0/3 on the power play through two periods.
The Ugly: The Capitals had three penalty kills in the second period alone but killed off all of them.
Scoring: Gabriel Landeskog made it 4-1 on a penalty shot after being hacked by Orlov on a breakaway. Landeskog put it in the top left corner to beat Grubauer for his 7th of the year at 4:59.
Mikko Rantanen struck on the power play on a back door feed from Carl Soderberg to make it 5-1 Avalanche.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first powerplay goal of the year with 6:49 left on a nice pass from Oshie. John Carlon picked up the second assist.
Landeskog closed out the scoring with a power play goal with 25 seconds left for the hat trick.
The Good: The Capitals are on their way back home to kick off a four-game homestand, beginning on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Washington plays nine of the next 10 at home, including a season-long 5-game homestand.
The Bad: The Capitals did not score on their first four power-play opportunities against the Avalanche on Thursday. They picked up a late power play goal by Kuznetsov late in the game after the outcome had been decided.
The Ugly: The Caps had 11 penalties during the game, many of them the result of Colorado’s speed. The Avs scored 2 goals on 6 power plays and scored 1 goal on a penalty shot.
Shots: Capitals: 30 Avalanche: 27
Blocked Shots: Capitals: 18 Avalanche: 18
Faceoffs: Capitals: 64% Avalanche: 36%
Power Play: Capitals: 1/5 Avalanche: 2/6
Up Next: The Capitals return from their short two-game swing on Saturday night at Capital One Arena. They kick off a four-game homestand and a stretch where they will play 9 of their next 10 games at home against the Minnesota Wild. The Wild were in action tonight at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, beating the Nashville Predators 6-4. Tomorrow will serve as a travel day for both squads as Washington looks for its fifth straight victory on home ice.
By Harrison Brown
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