Capitals Recover, Top Canucks, 4-3 (OT); Kuznetsov Gets Second Career Hat Trick, Eller Nets OTGWG

Photo: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals overcame the Vancouver Canucks to win by a score of 4-3 in overtime at Rogers Arena on Friday night to finish their three-game Western Canada road trip with a 2-0-1 record. The win lifted the Capitals a point behind the Boston Bruins (who have two games in hand) for the first wild card-spot in the Eastern Conference, three behind the New York Rangers (two) for third in the Metropolitan Division, and five behind the Penguins (one) for second. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves in the victory.

Capitals’ Lines at Canucks

Graphic: @Capitals

Right-wings Conor Sheary and Tom Wilson flipped spots in the lineup.

Scratched: RW Daniel Sprong, LHD Michal Kempny, LHD Matt Irwin

Injured: LW Carl Hagelin (eye, missed fifth game, out indefinitely); LW Joe Snively (upper-body, fifth, week-to-week)

First Period

Center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s skate tapped the puck past the pad of goaltender Thatcher Demko after defenseman Nick Jensen rimmed around the end board to get the Capitals on the board first 5:35 in.

Captain Alex Ovechkin’s blast from the dot squeaked past Demko and Kuznetsov swiped it in from the goal crease to double the lead on the power play 43 seconds later. That marks the 29-year-old’s second multi-goal game of the season. Kuznetsov’s two goals in a span of 43 seconds is the quickest back-to-back goals scored by a Capital this year, besting Ovechkin’s two goals in 56 seconds on November 26 against the Florida Panthers. Kuznetsov has six goals during a four-game goal-scoring streak at Rogers Arena, including two goals in each of his last two.

The Capitals led 11-8 in shots, scored once on two power-plays, and had two giveaways while the Canucks earned five through 20 minutes.

The Canucks led 2-0 in takeaways, 9-2 in blocked shots, 10-5 in hits, did not score on one opportunity on the man advantage, and won 71% of the draws in the first.

Second Period

The Capitals led 23-17 in shots (including 12-9 in the second), had two giveaways while the Canucks were credited with seven, and scored once on two power-play opportunities through two.

The Canucks led 5-1 in takeaways, 15-10 in blocked shots, were held scoreless on one power play, and won 65% of the draws in the first 40 minutes.

Each team tallied 19 hits in the first two periods.

Third Period

Defenseman Quinn Hughes let a shot go from the point and went high-glove on Vanecek with a screen in front after a executing a rotation with two others at the top 57 seconds in.

Center Bo Horvat one-timed a shot from the slot after right-wing Conor Garland fed him from the right half-wall to tie it at 3:19 on the power play.

Horvat took a rebound at the side of the net from his forehand to backhand to tuck the puck in after Vanecek stopped defenseman Travis Hamonic’s blast from the top to give Vancouver the lead 100 seconds later.

Kuznetsov slid one past the pad of Demko after Ovechkin was robbed, right-wing T.J. Oshie could not get a touch on the rebound, and he fanned on his initial attempt to tie it and finish off his second career hat-trick with 4:53 left. Kuznetsov has four goals and seven points over his last five games.

The Capitals led 34-26 (including 10-9 in the third period) in shots, had six giveaways while the Canucks were credited with nine, and scored twice on three power plays.

The Canucks led 26-23 in hits, 6-1 in takeaways, 23-13 in blocked shots, won 67% of the draws, and went one-for-three on the power play.

Overtime

Center Lars Eller put a shot through the five-hole on a two-on-none after defenseman John Carlson sent him in to win it 42 seconds in on the lone overtime shot. Carlson has now recorded back-to-back multi-assist games and has nine assists in his last six games.

Next game: Tuesday vs. New York Islanders (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington in-market, ESPN+ out-of-market)

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
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4 Responses to Capitals Recover, Top Canucks, 4-3 (OT); Kuznetsov Gets Second Career Hat Trick, Eller Nets OTGWG

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just win, baby! 5 of 6 points is a great result.

    • Marky says:

      Fun game to watch again. Nice win.

    • DC Scappeli says:

      yes, many thought they would not be successful on this west coast trip! 5 out of 6, staying ahead of CBJ and on the heels of the Rags…! LGC!!! I really hope they start coming together and begin peaking in time for the playoffs

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