Capitals Crunch Red Wings, 5-2; Alex Ovechkin Nets First Hat-Trick Of The Season

Dave Reginek:Getty ImagesPhoto: Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals earned their third consecutive win on Saturday night when they beat the Detroit Red Wings, who dropped their ninth straight (0-7-2), by a score of 5-2 at Little Caesar’s Arena. The win extended the Capitals’ lead over the New York Islanders for first place in the Metropolitan Division to seven points, though the Islanders now have four games in hand on the Capitals. Goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 25 saves in the victory, his first start since November 15.

Capitals’ Lines at Red Wings

The Capitals made no line changes upfront and on defense after their second consecutive win on Friday, a 4-3 come from behind victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime at Capital One Arena. Defenseman Nick Jensen faced his former team for the first time since the Red Wings dealt him to Washington on February 22. Center Nicklas Backstrom and forward Carl Hagelin (both upper-body injuries) missed their fifth and 10th consecutive games, respectively. Forward Garnet Hathaway appeared in his 200th career NHL game.

First Period

Forward Robby Fabbri backhanded one under the bar after getting the puck all alone in front on a pass from center Dylan Larkin on the half-wall on the power-play at 11:47 elapsed time.

The Capitals led 12-9 in shots, 2-1 in takeaways, failed to score on one power-play, and won 53% of the draws in the first.

The Red Wings led 9-7 in hits, 4-1 in blocked shots, gave away the puck one time while the Capitals did so seven times, and went one-for-two on the man advantage through 20 minutes.

Second Period

Forward T.J. Oshie tied it up for the Capitals on a one-timer from the bumper spot on the power-play after getting fed by forward Jakub Vrana from the goal-line 2:19 into the second.

Captain Alex Ovechkin sneaked a shot past goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s left pad after getting him down to make it 2-1 Capitals at 9:21. The goal marked the Capitals’ 100th of the season and they became the second team in the past dozen seasons to reach that mark before December (2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks: 102).

The Capitals led 25-14 in shots, including 13-5 in the second, 3-1 in takeaways, won 57% of the draws, and went 1-for-3 on the power-play through two.

The Red Wings led 18-13 in hits, 6-5 in blocked shots, went 1-for-4 on the power-play, and gave away the puck seven times while the Capitals did it nine times in the first 40 minutes.

Third Period

Forward Tom Wilson took the puck from his forehand to his backhand while streaking down the wing and beat Bernier through the five-hole on a breakaway after getting an al-a-oop pass from Ovechkin to make it 3-1 with 5:37 left.

Forward Luke Glendening sniped one past Samsonov from the slot nine seconds later after forward Tyler Bertuzzi got the puck off the forecheck and fed him to get the Red Wings back within one with 5:27 to go.

Ovechkin capped the victory, skating in for an empty-netter to make it 4-2 with 1:35 left.

Ovechkin strolled in after a turnover by defenseman Filip Hronek and fought him off on the way to the cage to finish the hat trick, earn his 20th of the season, and make it 5-2 with 54.4 seconds left. He became the sixth player in league history to complete a hat-trick with two empty-net goals.

The Capitals led 34-27 in shots, 13-10 in blocked shots, 4-3 in takeaways, and went 1-for-3 on the power-play.

The Red Wings led 13-9 in third-period shots, 26-20 in hits, won 56% of the faceoffs, went 1-for-4 on the power-play, and gave away the puck nine times while the Capitals did it 11 times.

The Capitals head out west to continue their four-game road trip on Tuesday night when they will take on the San Jose Sharks. Action from SAP Center can be seen on NBC Sports Washington beginning at 10:30 PM ET.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
This entry was posted in Game Re-Caps, Games, News, Washington Capitals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.