Capitals Hammer Blackhawks, 6-1; John Carlson Scores In Return; Alex Ovechkin Scores 41st Of The Season

Photo: Patrick Smith/NHL via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals trounced the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-1 Thursday night at Capital One Arena in the District. The victory improves Washington’s record to 34-31-8 (76 points) on the season.

The Capitals got goals from Conor Sheary and Anthony Mantha in the first period and Nic Dowd and Nicklas Backstrom in the middle frame to take a commanding 4-0 lead after two periods of play. John Carlson added a power play goal early in the third period and Alex Ovechkin added an unassisted breakaway goal late in the final frame for the 6-1 final.


Darcy Kuemper (20-22-0-5, 2.77 GAA and a .911 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Capitals. Anton Khudobin (3-4–0-1, 3.64 GAA and a .879 SV%) got the start in goal for the Blackhawks. The Capitals starting forward lines and defensive pairs:

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

Martin Fehervary – John Carlson
Rasmus Sandin — Nick Jensen
Alex Alexeyev — Trevor van Riemsdyk

Darcy Kuemper
Charlie Lindgren

Extras: Nicolas Aube-Kubel
[Zach Fucale and Gabriel Carlsson were returned to AHL Hershey on Thursday]

This was Khudobin’s 1st start for the Blackhawks after he was dealt from Dallas at the trade deadline three weeks ago. It was his first NHL game since Jan. 15, 2022.


The Capitals opened the scoring midway through the first frame following a miscue by Blackhawks’ netminder Anton Khudobin. Conor Sheary collected the loose puck and finished for the easy tally at 10:15. Thegoal was unassisted.

The Capitals wasted all of 18 seconds to make it 2-0. Anthony Mantha collected a faceoff win by Evgeny Kuznetsov and finished for his 11th goal of the season. Alex Ovechkin (30) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (40) had the assists.

And that was it for the first frame. The Blackhawks led in five-on-five shot attempts, 15-14.  The Capitals led in scoring chances, 8-6. High-danger chances were tied, 5-5. Hawks led in xGF .93 to .70. The Capitals led battle at the dot, 53-47% (Hawks have 4th-best faceoff winning percentage in the league)


The Capitals quickly stretched their lead to 3-0 on Nic Dowd‘s 13th goal of the season at 1:27. Aliaksei Protas (10) had the helper.

The Capitals made it 4-0 with a power play goal from Nicklas Backstrom (6) at 8:12 of the middle frame. Dylan Strome (37) and John Carlson (14) had the helpers.

And that was it for the middle frame. The Capitals led in five-on-five shot attempts, 16-12, scoring chances, 11-4 and high-danger chances, 2-1 in the middle frame. The Capitals dominated the dot, 60-40% thru 40 minutes of play.


The Capitals made it 5-0 early in the final frame on a power play marker by John Carlson (9) at 1:05. Nicklas Backstrom (11) and Dylan Strome (38) had the helpers.

The Blackhawks ruined the shutout moments later on a goal from Nikita Zaitsev (1) at 3:08 of the third period.

Alex Ovechkin added an unassisted breakaway goal late in the final frame to make it 6-1. It was his 41st of the season and 821st of his NHL career.

And that would be the final.


  • Conor Sheary scores his 14th goal of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. Sheary has scored a goal in two-straight games.
  • Sheary has scored Washington’s first goal of the game six times this season.
  • Anthony Mantha scored his 11th goal of the season to extend the Capitals’ lead to 2-0. Ten of Mantha’s 11 goals this season have come at even strength.
  • Alex Ovechkin recorded the primary assist on Mantha’s goal, his 30th assist of the season. Ovechkin has scored 40 goals and recorded 30 assists in a single season for the ninth time in his career.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded the secondary assist on Mantha’s goal, his team-leading 40th assist of the season. With the assist, Kuznetsov passes Mike Ridley (547) for the ninth-most points in franchise history.
  • Nic Dowd scored his 13th goal of the season to extend the Capitals’ lead to 3-0. Dowd has now recorded 25 points (13g, 12a) in 59 games this season, setting a new single-season career high (previously 2021-22: 24p).
  • Aliaksei Protas recorded the primary assist on Dowd’s goal, his 10th assist of the season. Protas has recorded an assist in two-straight game.
  • Nicklas Backstrom scores his sixth goal of the season to extend the Capitals’ lead to 4-0. Backstrom has recorded four points (2g, 2a) in his last five games.
  • Dylan Strome recorded the primary assist on Backstrom’s goal, his 37th assist of the season, tying his single-season career high (2018-19: 37a).
  • John Carlson recorded the secondary assist on Backstrom’s goal, his 14th assist of the season. Entering tonight’s game, the Capitals had a record of 9-2-0 this season when Carlson records an assist.
  • John Carlson scored his ninth goal of the season on the power to extend the Capitals’ lead to 5-0. Carlson has recorded two points (1g, 1a) in his first game since Dec. 23, marking his sixth multi-point game of the season and the 140th of his career.
  • Nicklas Backstrom recorded the primary assist on Carlson’s goal, his second point (1g, 1a) of the game. It marks Backstrom’s 11th assist of the season and his ninth power-play point (4g, 5a).

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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16 Responses to Capitals Hammer Blackhawks, 6-1; John Carlson Scores In Return; Alex Ovechkin Scores 41st Of The Season

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s more like it!

    • hockeydruid says:

      Don’t thump your chest for beating one of the worst teams in the league. Remember we have lost to the Sharks, St louis and several other “bad” teams. YOu never know how this team is going to play on any given night.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Small victories, Druid.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s also the first time all year that Ovi, Backy, Wilson, Carlson, Oshi and Kuzy have all been in the line up at the same time…..

      • Anonymous says:

        Some of us choose to recognize the reality of the situation. Been a tough year but we are getting a glimpse of what might be next year. More positives than you are willing to see. Nice win no Matthew competition.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Looks like the early nod goes to Sandin – Carlson pairing.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Would agree, but it’s one game against one of the worst teams in the league. Having said that, definitely give the early nod to Sandin – Carlson pairing. I’m sure Laviolette will do some more testing against Pittsburgh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sandin-Carlson is the worst thing he can do ! They are both ofensively great when They have strong defenseman next to them.

      Did people really forget what Sandin was doing defensively only few days ago ?

      As for some special situations Ok, not as stable duo ! This is not an early nod it is a crazy nod !

      Keep it as it is. That works !

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Both Carlson and Sandin have proven to be better offensive defensemen, and should get a majority,of their shift starts in the offensive zone. Numbers from last night indicate the pairing worked well. Sandin has not looked that good on defense so far. Why marginalize other pairings?

        • Anonymous says:

          Sandin also only just turned 23. Defence men take a while longer to really grow into their position and he’s learning the system/his teammates’ habits on the fly. Remember it took Jensen a bit to really find his game as well, give the pairs a few more games to work out the gritty details.

  3. Jon Sorensen says:

  4. KimRB says:

    Brutal stretch starts tonight for the Bears. Not only is it a 3 in 3 weekend, but 3 different arenas, in two states: Rochester, Syracuse, then back to Hershey. And it’s also 5 arenas in 9 days, including a trip to Canada. And these are not cushy plane rides, and 4 star hotels. This is bus rides and Red Roof Inns. I get tired just thinking about it.

  5. KimRB says:

    And BTW there’s an article on Vinny Iorio on the the AHL’s front page

  6. Jon Sorensen says:

  7. Rob says:

    Sandin has 2 even +/- games in a row but was -11 the previous 4 games which is absolutely horrible. He definitely needs a defensive minded partner.
    Fehervary – Carlson
    Sandin – Van Riemsdyk
    Alexeyev – Jensen

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Why put him in the defensive zone then? Top pairing gets offensive zone shift starts. Keep him out of the D-zone, with Carlson. Bottom pairings are looked to for more defense.

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