Capitals Crush Canadiens, 9-2, on New Year’s Eve; Gustafsson, Kuznetsov, Johansson Tally Three Points Each; Ovechkin Records Hat Trick

Photo: John McCreary/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals defeated the Montréal Canadiens by a score of 9-2 during a New Year’s Eve matinee at Capital One Arena on Saturday. The win improved the Capitals’ record to 21-13-5 and 47 points on the season. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves in the victory.

Lines & Pairs

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano — Dylan Strome — Anthony Mantha
Marcus Johansson — Lars Eller — Joe Snively
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway

Erik Gustafsson — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov — Nick Jensen
Martin Fehervary — Matt Irwin

Charlie Lindgren
Darcy Kuemper

Scratches: Right-wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel and defenseman Alexander Alexeyev

Notes: Fehervary returned to the lineup after missing the last twelve games with an upper-body injury. As a result, the Capitals sent defenseman Lucas Johansen to the AHL’s Hershey Bears on Friday evening. Aube-Kubel was a late scratch as Snively drew in his first game since November 15th.

Injuries: Right-wing Tom Wilson (ACL), center Nicklas Backstrom (hip), center Carl Hagelin (hip), right-wing Connor Brown (ACL), and defenseman John Carlson (upper-body)

First Period

Just 32 seconds into the opening frame, Gustafsson (6) gave the Capitals an early 1-0 lead with assists from Kuznetsov (25) and Sheary (14).

Hathaway (4) would extend Washington’s lead, 2-0, at the 4:32 mark with a deflection. Protas (5) and Dowd (7) assisted.

Quick Stats

SOG: 13-9 Canadiens

Face-Off Win %: 62% (Capitals), 38% (Canadiens)

Hits: 9-8 Canadiens

Second Period

Cole Caufield would get on the board for Montréal during a man advantage to make it a 2-1 game at the 4:02 mark.

The Capitals would notch a 3-1 lead thanks to Dowd (9) at the 8:31 mark. Protas (6) and Gustafsson (16) assisted.

Ovechkin (24) registered his 804th career goal at the 9:06 mark to make it a 4-1 game. van Riemsdyk (5) and Eller (8) had the helpers.

Caufield would pot his second of the evening at the 12:39 mark to make it a 4-2 game.

On a late power play, Strome (8) would give the Capitals a 5-2 lead with assists from Kuznetsov (26) and Johansson (9).

Quick Stats

Total SOG: 25-22 Canadiens

Face-Off Win %: 63% (Capitals), 37% (Canadiens)

Total Hits: 20-19 Capitals

Third Period

Ovechkin (25) would light the lamp a second time for career goal No. 805 during an early power-play to make it 6-2 in favor of Washington. Gustafsson (17) and Johansson (10) had the assists.

Johansson (10) would give the Capitals a healthy 7-2 lead at the 5:31 mark. Kuznetsov (27) and Fehervary (3) had the helpers.

Mantha would extend the Capitals’ lead to 8-2 at the 15:43 mark on a breakaway.

Ovechkin would score a hat trick to make it 9-2 Capitals late in the period.

Quick Stats

Total SOG: 37-33 Capitals

Face-Off Win %: 51% (Capitals), 49% (Canadiens)

Total Hits: 24-22 Capitals

Notes Through the Game

  • The Capitals have scored the game-opening goal in four-straight games.
  • Gustafsson extended his point streak to seven games (6g, 5a), which is the longest by a Capitals player this season. His current point streak is the second-longest of his career and is one game shy of his career-long eight-game point streak, accomplished with the Chicago Blackhawks from Dec. 27, 2018, to Jan. 12, 2019 (0g, 11a).
  • Kuznetsov now has points in five-straight games (2g, 4a).
  • Sixteen of Kuznetsov’s 25 assists this season have been primary assists.
  • Sheary extended his point streak to four games (1g, 5a).
  • Hathaway has recorded three points (1g, 2a) in his last four games.
  • Protas picked up his first career point against Montreal.
  • With 15 points (8g, 7a) in 38 games this season, Dowd is on pace to record a career-high 31 points.
  • Ovechkin’s 35th career goal in 54 games against the Canadiens is the most among active players.
  • Ovechkin’s goal marked his 395th career goal scored at home. He is five goals shy of becoming the fifth player in NHL history to score 400 home goals.
  • van Riemsdyk is two points shy of 100 career points (21g, 77a).
  • Eller is seven assists shy of passing Mikkel Boedker (209) for second on the all-time Danish assists list.
  • Strome extended his point streak to four games (2g, 2a).
  • Ovechkin’s second-period goal marked his 50th regular-season goal of the calendar year 2022 – his eighth year hitting the mark following 2018 (54), 2015 (57), 2013 (62), 2009 (57), 2008 (60), 2007 (51) and 2006 (54), tying Mike Bossy.
  • Ovechkin notched his sixth multi-goal game of the season and the 164th of his career. Only Wayne Gretzky (189) has more multi-goal games in NHL history.
  • Ovechkin scored his second hat trick this season and the 30th of his career.
  • Sheary has registered seven points (1g, 6a) in his last four games.
  • The Capitals improve to 7-0-0 when Protas records a point this season.
  • The Capitals have allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of their last 13 games.
  • The Capitals scored a season-high nine goals against Montreal. Washington last scored nine goals in a game on April 12, 2022, vs. Philadelphia.
  • The Capitals finish December with a record of 11-2-2. It’s the fourth time Washington has recorded 11 or more wins in December in franchise history (1984: 12-2-2-0; 2015: 11-2-0-1; 2008: 11-3-0-0).

The Capitals wrap up a three-game homestand at Capital One Arena on Tuesday in their first game of the 2023 calendar year, hosting the Buffalo Sabres. NBC Sports Washington+ will have the coverage beginning at 7 PM ET.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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13 Responses to Capitals Crush Canadiens, 9-2, on New Year’s Eve; Gustafsson, Kuznetsov, Johansson Tally Three Points Each; Ovechkin Records Hat Trick

  1. Talk about fireworks!

  2. novafyre says:

    Habs are rebuilding big time. Martin St Louis has been playing lots of rookies — as many as 5 of his 6 defensemen.

    Habs are not Boston, not Canes, not even Buffalo (who are on a 6 win streak and just beat Boston).

    • Jonathan says:

      a few teams have scored 7 goals against Montreal this season. Nice to see we topped the list as opposed to our 3-1 victory early in the season. We certainly have shown improvement. You could see the Caps almost embarrassed by the Canadians level of play…. a little conversation by Alex and Kuzy at the bench after his last goal…The lack of defense and a porous goalie, certainly looked AHL.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

    Just win, baby!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Chuck, Gus and Mojo are prob the best value contracts in the NHL. Willie back soon… TJ? Who do they replace? Extend Sonny, Gus, Sheary and TVR.

    • novafyre says:

      I’d have to add Milano to that list of best value contracts.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I’d have to add Sheary as well. 20-goal scorer for $1.5 mill is a heck of a deal.

      • Jonathan says:

        Chuck, Gus, Mojo, Milano, and Sheary. How can you have 5 best in the league value contracts and not have a top in the league GM? You can’t. I don’t always like BM’s decisions, but he’s more right than I’ll ever be. And these ‘vets’ are playing at the cost of rookies. I like the performance on the ice better every time.

    • Jonathan says:

      Say that again. 100% baby, 100%.

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

  6. Anonymous says:

    That was a great answer to that dud against Senators.

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