The Washington Capitals made a big statement in Game 3 following their disappointing 5-1 loss to the Panthers in Game 2. The Capitals answered the Game 2 loss with a 6-1 thumping of the Panthers on Saturday at Capital One Arena, giving them a 2-1 series lead.
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored his first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at 10:25 of the third period, extending the Capitals’ lead to 4-1.
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The tally marked Ovechkin’s 72nd career playoff goal, moving him past Bryan Trottier for the 16th-most playoff goals in NHL history. The goal also moves him into a tie with Esa Tikkanen for first on the all time list for playoff goals by a left winger.
Ovechkin’s 28 career playoff power play goals are tied for the seventh-most in NHL history and tied with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the most among active players.
Ovechkin also recorded an assist on the Capitals first goal by T.J. Oshie, giving him an assist in each of the Capitals first three games of the Playoffs. Only three players in Capitals history have recorded a longer postseason-opening assist streak: Scott Stevens (5 GP in 1984), Mike Green (4 GP in 2011) and Steve Konowalchuk (4 GP in 1995).
In addition to the scoring, Ovechkin finished the game with six hits, which was tied with Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway for most hits on the team.
“Tom’s not there again today, and he’s (Ovechkin) a big guy that provides some physicality,” Laviolette said. “So everybody’s got to ante up. I thought O early on in the game … his physicality for a guy that scores goals and is going to go down as one of the greats of all time, his physical play is always evident and needed. It set the tone.”
Game 4 is set for Monday night at Capital One Arena with puck drop set for 7:30 PM.
By Jon Sorensen