Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
The Washington Capitals downed the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Alex Ovechkin scored his 32nd goal of the season and Marcus Johansson scored his 13th in the win. The Capitals record improves to 26-19-6 (58 points) on the season.
Darcy Kuemper (14-13-0-4, 2.57 GAA, .916 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. Casey DeSmith (7-9-0-3, 3.34 GAA, .900) got the start in goal for the visiting Penguins. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:
Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – T.J. Oshie
Sonny Milano – Nicklas Backstrom – Marcus Johansson
Anthony Mantha – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Conor Sheary
Nicolas Aube-Kubel – Lars Eller – Garnet Hathaway
Erik Gustafsson – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Dmitry Orlov – Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin – Martin Fehervary
Scratches: Tom Wilson (lower body), Nic Dowd (lower body), Aliaksei Protas, Alex Alexeyev.
The Capitals opened the scoring on a power play goal from Alex Ovechkin (32) at 6:00 of the first frame. Evgeny Kuznetsov (35) and Dmitry Orlov (14) had the helpers. It was Ovechkin’s 812th career goal.
Well would ya look at that 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/HzGeDFPhTW
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 27, 2023
That was in in the first frame. Good start for the good guys, as the Capitals controlled possession in the first nine minutes and squashed a Pens surge in the second half of the period. The Capitals led in 5v5 shot attempts, 18-12, and 5v5 high-danger chances, 3-2.
The Penguins quickly tied the game early in the middle frame. Danton Heinen (5) notched the tying tally at 2:37. Drew O’Connor (2) and Brian Dumoulin (11) had the assists.
Danton Heinen scores against the Washington Capitals to make it 1-1 #WSHvsPIT #ALLCAPS #LetsGoPens pic.twitter.com/QUxtsV38Pq
— nopClips (@nopClips) January 27, 2023
And that was it for the middle frame. Strong start to the middle frame by the Pens, but Caps flipped the script in final 4 mins. Pens led in 5v5 shot attempts 41-34 after 40 minutes. Caps led in xGF 1.57 to 1.56.
The Capitals re-gained the lead early in the third period on a snipe from Marcus Johansson (13) at 5:17. Nicklas Backstrom (4) and Sonny Milano (14) had the helpers.
Marcus Johansson with a rocket to put the Capitals back in the lead 😎 pic.twitter.com/vJkMBznbsk
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 27, 2023
The Penguins tied the game late on a snapshot by Bryan Rust at 12:52. Jake Guentzel (25) and Sidney Crosby (35) had the assists.
Bryan Rust ties it up for the Penguins 🤫 pic.twitter.com/z06pprUPSi
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 27, 2023
Regulation would end in a 2-2 tie.
The Capitals were awarded the 4-on-3 power play early in the extra frame, but we’re unable to convert. The extra frame would ended scoreless.
The Capitals would win it in the shootout. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom would convert for the victory.
- Conor Sheary played in his 500th career NHL game.
- Alex Ovechkin scored his 32nd goal of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. It marks Ovechkin’s 401st career goal scored at home, which ties Mike Gartner for the fourth-most home goals in NHL history.
- With his 10th power play goal, Alex Ovechkin extended his NHL record of 16 seasons with 10+ PP goals – two more than any other player in league history.
- Nicklas Backstrom recorded the primary assist on Johansson’s goal, his fourth assist of the season. Three of Backstrom’s four assists this season have been primary assists.
- It marks Backstrom’s 751st career assist, passing Larry Robinson (750) for the 45th-most assists in NHL history.
- Sonny Milano recorded the secondary assist on Johansson’s goal, his 14th assist of the season. Milano has recorded six points (1g, 5a) in 11 career games vs. Pittsburgh, which is tied for the second-most points he has recorded vs. a single opponent (Philadelphia: 8p in 11 GP).
- Nicklas Backstrom scored the game deciding goal to give the Capitals a 3-2 shootout win. Backstrom’s 29 career shootout goals rank second in franchise history (Alex Ovechkin: 37).
- The Capitals recorded 45 shots on goal against Pittsburgh, marking their ninth game this season with 40 or more shots.
- The Capitals have outshot their opponents in six of their last seven games. During that stretch, the Capitals have averaged 35.7 shots per game and have averaged 27.6 shots against.
- Darcy Kuemper stopped 35 of 37 shots faced in regulation and overtime and two of three shots in the shootout. It marks Kuemper’s fifth game this season with 35 or more saves.
- This season, the Capitals have a record 12-4-1 in games following a regulation loss.
A few weeks ago I kept hearing how the second period was our period. It seems to me that the second is now second or third best. Am I imagining that?
Agree, not lately. But I think we are getting out to better starts, except of Vegas.
We had to have those two points. Tough test in Toronto coming up next.
Keep it rolling! No Auston Matthews for Leafs on Sunday.