Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-2 Wednesday night at Capital One Arena. The Capitals would register a top-line hat trick in the opening period to grab an early 3-0 lead and coast to a rather convincing victory. The win raised the Capitals record to 17-11-1. The Capitals conclude their season-long five-game homestand Friday night when they host the New York Rangers. Puck drop is 7:00 PM.
Braden Holtby (14-6-0, 2.63 GAA, .919 sv%) got the start in goal for the Caps. Anton Forsberg (1-3-0-3, 3.01 GAA, .914 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Hawks. The starting lines for the Capitals:
Scratches: Tyler Graovac and Taylor Chorney were the healthy scratches. T.J. Oshie missed his first game of the season due to an upper body injury he sustained in the last game against the San Jose Sharks. Andre Burakovsky missed his 20th-straight game due to a fractured left thumb.
A brisk pace to the start of this one, with the Blackhawks leading in shots on goal 6-3 with 9:38 left in the first period. The Capitals would be the first to light the lamp on a beautiful tic-tac-goal that was finished by Nicklas Backstrom at the 11:54 mark of the opening frame.
Tom Wilson would quickly make it 2-0 on a shot from the top of the left circle at 14:53 of the first period.
Alex Ovechkin would complete the top-line hat trick with the Caps third goal of the period at 15:22 of the opening frame.
Lance Bouma would get the Blackhawks on the scoreboard by knocking home a loose rebound at 17:54 of the first period. The Blackhawks would pull their starting goalie and replace Anton Forsberg with J.F. Berube.
The period would conclude with the Capitals leading 3-1. The Blackhawks led in shots on goal 16-11 for the first 20 minutes. There were no powerplays in the period.
The Blackhawks would be awarded the game’s first power play at 5:10 of the middle frame, but Chicago struggled to get anything started and would fail to capitalize.
The Capitals hit a shot-drought following their third goal in the first period. The Blackhawks had 15 shots on goal and Washington 0 following the Caps third tally. The Blackhawks led 9-0 in shots on goal for the middle frame with 9:32 remaining in the period.
The Capitals would be awarded their first power play late in the period and they would make it count. Brent Connolly would drive home a rebound at 18:32 to stretch the Capitals lead to 4-1.
The period would end with the Capitals holding a commanding 4-1 lead. Chicago outshot Washington 16-6 for the middle frame. the Blackhawks were 0 for 2 and the Capitals 1 for 2 on the man advantage for the period.
The first half of the third period was a little more evenly played with shots on goal 4-4 at the 10 minute mark.
Evgeny Kuznetsov would stretch the Capitals lead to 5-1 on the end of a beautiful feed from Alex Ovechkin from below the goal line at 10:23 of the final frame.
The Blackhawks would inch closer with a goal by Jonathan Toews at 16:18 of the final frame. The breakaway was setup by an Ovechkin turnover just inside the Blackhawks zone.
The Capitals would add an empty net goal by Tom Wilson at 17:40 of the third period to make it 6-2.
The Caps would hang on for the 6-2 win.
- The Blackhawks remain winless in Washington since 2006.
- Tom Wilson recorded a career-high four points (2g, 2a) and has two goals and seven assists in his last 12 games and 13 points (4g, 9a) through 24 games this season, on pace for his most productive offensive season since his 2015-16 (23 points, 7g, 16 a).
- Wilson became the first player in franchise history to record two consecutive three-point games against the Blackhawks (Jan. 13, 2017: 1g, 2a).
- Brett Connolly recorded his fifth goal and seventh point of the season on a power play. That’s the second-straight game Connolly has recorded a power play goal and his third-straight game with a goal, tied with Ovechkin for the longest current streak.
- With 4 points tonight, Alex Ovechkin has 1067 in his career- passes Bobby Clarke for the 22nd most by a player through their first 13 NHL seasons (7th most by a winger)
- Alex Ovechkin passed Alexander Mogilny & Sergei Fedorov for the most career 3+ point regular season games in NHL history by a Russian-born player (95)
- Nicklas Backstrom’s goal snapped a 21-game goal drought, puts him past Bengt-Ake Gustafsson & Kelly Miller for the 7th most even strength goals in Capitals history (131)
- Tonight is the first time the Caps have scored three goals in the first period since scoring four on Oct. 7 vs. the Montreal Canadiens. It’s also the first time the Caps have scored three in any period since Nov. 14 vs. the Nashville Predators.
- Tonight’s attendance was 18,506, the Capitals 379th consecutive sellout at Capital One Arena.
NHL box score here.
By Jon Sorensen
SCENES FROM THE DISTRICT