Take Down In The Tank: Washington Storms Back To Stun San Jose, 8-3; Ovechkin, Smith Strike Twice; Sandin Earns Three Helpers In Team Debut

Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the first period to come back and slay the San Jose Sharks, 8-3, at SAP Center on Saturday evening in both teams’ first games since the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline passed at 3 PM ET on Friday. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper made 38 saves in the win.

Washington’s Lines at San Jose

Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Tom Wilson
Anthony Mantha  — Nicklas Backstrom — Craig Smith
Sonny Milano — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Conor Sheary — Nic Dowd — Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Rasmus Sandin — Trevor Van Riemsdyk
Alexander Alexeyev — Matt Irwin
Gabriel Carlsson – Vinny Iorio

Charlie Lindgren

Injured: D John Carlson (upper-body, missed 28th straight game, out indefinitely); RW Connor Brown (ACL, 60th, indefinite); LW Carl Hagelin (hip, 64th, indefinite); D Martin Fehervary (upper-body, first, status unknown); D Nick Jensen (upper-body, first, status unknown)

With Fehervary and Jensen coming out in addition to Sandin making his Washington debut, Sandin replaced Fehervary while Van Riemsdyk and Irwin, who shifted to the right side, both moved up by one pairing after a 3-2 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Carlsson also made his Washington debut and played in his first NHL game since April 29, 2022 with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Iorio, the 55th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by Washington, made his NHL debut.

San Jose’s Lines

Fabian Zetterlund — Tomas Hertl — Andreas Johnsson
Kevin Labanc  — Logan Couture — Alexander Barabanov
Noah Gregor — Nico Sturm — Evgeny Svechnikov
William Eklund — Steven Lorentz — Oskar Lindblom

Mario Ferraro — Erik Karlsson
Marc-Eduardo Vlasic — Matt Benning
Radim Simek – Jacob MacDonald

Kaapo Kahkonen
James Reimer

Scratched: D Nick Cicek

Injured: C Luke Kunin (knee, 31st, season); D Markus Nutivaara (lower-body, 62nd, indefinite); LW Jonah Gadjovich (upper-body, ninth, week-to-week)

First Period


12:03, 1-0 San Jose (PPG): After getting a stretch pass by Karlsson from the blueline, Hertl protected the puck from Oshie, drove to the net, was denied by Kuemper on a low backhand shot, and stuffed in the rebound in the crease. With his 60th assist on the season, Karlsson became the 10th defenseman in NHL history to record at least 60 assists in 63 or fewer games. He’s just the second to do so in the past 28 years.

Dowd dumped a San Jose skater along the boards with around 5:30 to go.

15:30, 2-0: Barabonov hacked and whacked the puck in to the top shelf up close after Couture bounced the puck off of Van Riemsdyk to the front of the net from the side.

Shots: 20-5 San Jose

Other Notable Stats: Washington, who won 71% of the faceoffs and was held scoreless on one power play, led 12-10 in hits, 3-1 in takeaways, and earned three giveaways while San Jose tallied eight. Each team earned six blocked shots. San Jose scored once on two full opportunities on the man advantage.

Second Period


8:46, 2-1: Smith ripped a wrister from the right dot through the arm of Kahkonen after getting a feed by Strome in the high slot. It was the 33-year-old’s first goal with Washington. 19 of Strome’s 28 assists this season have been primary ones.

11:30, 2-2: Aube-Kubel rolled a shot through the five-hole of Kahkonen at the side of the net after Sheary set him up from the high slot.

15:28, 3-2 Washington: Irwin wound up and blasted a slapper, which was tipped in by Sheary from the left dot, through the five-hole of Kahkonen from the top after he received a cross-ice feed by Carlsson. The 35-year-old, who appeared in 153 games with San Jose from 2012-13 to 2014-15, scored his first career goal against his former team.

19:03, 4-2: Smith chipped in Sandin’s pass from the goal-line with his stick in front of the goal after falling down and Kahkonen kept the puck out with his shoulder. It was Smith’s second goal of the game, the 24th time of his NHL career that he has done so. Strome recorded the secondary assist on the goal, his second assist of the contest and 29th of the season. It marks Strome’s fifth multi-assist game and 10th multi-point game of the season. Strome has recorded five points (four assists) in his last four games.

Washington scored four goals in the second period against San Jose, tying a single-period high this season. It marked the team’s eighth four-goal period this season and second in their last four games (also four goals scored in the second period on in 6-3 win over New York Rangers on February 25).

Shots: 30-20 San Jose (but 15-10 Washington in the third)

Other Notable Stats: Washington, who won 68% of the faceoffs and failed to score on two power plays, led 21-18 in hits, 8-4 in takeaways, and had just five giveaways while San Jose tallied nine. San Jose, who struck once on four power plays, led 18-13 in blocked shots.

Third Period


5:50, 5-2: After Kahkonen thwarted Ovechkin’s one-timer from the high left dot off of the faceoff, Oshie got the rebound, turned around, and slid one through the wickets of Kahkonen. Sandin earned his second assist of his Washington debut with the secondary helper, his sixth career multi-point effort. Oshie has five goals and eight points during a five-game point-streak. With the primary assist, Ovechkin passed Stan Mikita (1,467) for the 16th-most points in NHL history. The tally marked Oshie’s 68th power-play goal with Washington, passing Dave Christian (67) for the seventh-most power-play goals in franchise history. Sandin became the first defenseman since Mike McEwen in 1984 to record multiple assists in his Washington debut.


9:02, 5-3: Sturm stepped into a shot in the left dot and one-timed Gregor’s feed through the five-hole of Kuemper after Iorio blew a tire at the blueline.

9:11, 6-3: Off of the ensuing faceoff, Ovechkin ripped a wrister over the blocker of Kahkonen after a turnover by San Jose in the neutral zone and Wilson chipped the puck up ahead to him. Carlsson earned his second assist of the game with the secondary helper. Wilson has registered six points (four goals) in his last six games.

16:05, 7-3: Ovechkin tipped Iorio’s pass from below the goal-line glove side down low after the two played catch in the offensive zone. It was the 37-year-old’s 35th goal of the season. Iorio earned his first career NHL point on the play. Sandin tallied his third assist of the game. With his third point of the game (two goals), Ovechkin earned his 166th career multi-goal game, which trails only Wayne Gretzky (189) for the most in NHL history. Ovechkin’s goal marks his first career tally against Kahkonen, the 166th different goaltender Ovechkin has scored on in his career.

17:30, 8-3: Strome tapped in Milano’s cross-ice feed in front high blocker after a turnover by Lorentz in the defensive zone. It was Strome’s third point of the game.

Shots: 41-30 San Jose (including 12-10 in third)

Other Notable Stats: Washington, who won 63% of the faceoffs and scored once on three power plays, led 28-23 in hits, 14-10 in takeaways, and had six giveaways while San Jose tallied 12. San Jose, who struck once on four power plays, led 22-20 in blocked shots.

Current Eastern Conference Wild-Card Standings

Washington is now three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins (who have two games in hand) for the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and will most likely end Saturday tied with the Buffalo Sabres (three), Ottawa Senators (one), and Florida Panthers (same number of games played) for the third wild-card spot.

Next game: Monday at Los Angeles Kings (10:30 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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16 Responses to Take Down In The Tank: Washington Storms Back To Stun San Jose, 8-3; Ovechkin, Smith Strike Twice; Sandin Earns Three Helpers In Team Debut

  1. Anonymous says:

    Two in a row!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Better than the Bears game. 0-0 late in the 3rd period. 🙄

  3. novafyre says:

    Did the Caps have any healthy scratches?

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s started ugly, but what a finish.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just win baby!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Carlson a former 1st round pick played well Carlson and Iorio played well.

  7. franky619 says:

    Even Smith look pretty good playing with a good center.

    • James says:

      “Even Smith”? Smith is a good hockey player. He’s scored 20+ goals on several occasions. At 33, he’s not the future, but I’ve always liked the way he plays.

      • franky619 says:

        It meant that Smith looked good when playing with Strome instead of Backstrom. I also like the way he played in Boston and Nashville.

  8. dwgie26 says:

    I still think one of the big storylines getting overshadowed is Alexyev is looking like a legit NHL player. This is huge for the future of the retool. If Alexyev can be penciled in as a consistent bottom 4 dee man for next year, we get significantly younger for the future. He is retrieving the puck better, his outlet passes have been fantastic and even showed some snarl (which he should at 6’4). With Sandin, Fever, and Alexyev down the left side that is a good future core.

    • KimRB says:

      Plus 1

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Roger that. Skated major minutes. Majority of his shift starts we’re in the d-zone (Iorio started 100% of shifts in the offensive zone). Solid night from 27.

      • Dave says:

        I agree. But my fear is the Caps will Siegenthaler him. He’s a 1st round pick with size and has always looked to me like he can skate at the NHL level. Yet they seem to be hesitant to play him (even playing McIlrath ahead of him recently – though granted those are opposite sides). I suppose they were looking to go with more proven veterans when they thought they could still chase a Cup this year. Maybe with the “sell” decision they’ll give him more of a chance.

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