Capitals Rally To Douse Flames, 3-2 In Shootout; Connor McMichael, Matthew Phillips Score

Photo: x/@Capitals

The Washington Capitals rallied to down the Calgary Flames 3-2 (SO) Monday night at Capital One Arena. The win improves the Capitals record to 1-1-0 on the season.

Darcy Kuemper (0-0-0) got the start in goal for the Capitals. Jacob Markstrom (1-1-0) got the nod between the pipes for the visiting Flames. The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs:

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Connor McMichael – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Sonny Milano – Dylan Strome – Matthew Phillips
Beck Malenstyn – Nic Dowd – Aliaksei Protas

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

Darcy Kuemper
Clay Stevenson

Scratches: Anthony Mantha, Lucas Johansen, Charlie Lindgren (Injured – day-to-day)


The Capitals gave up the first 11 shots of the game in the first five minutes, with the 12th shot finding the back of the net. Adam Ruzicka notched the game’s first tally at 4:47 of the opening stanza.

The Capitals recorded their first shot on goal with 13 minutes remaining in the first period.

The Flames stretched their lead to 2-0 with a power play marker from Dillon Dube at 17:12.

The Flames held the the 2-0 lead into the first intermission. The Flames led in shots on goals 17-3 and led in five-on-five shot attempts, 18-10.


The Capitals notched their first goal of the season on a tally from Matthew Phillips (1) at 6:48 of the second period. Sonny Milano (1) had the lone assist. It was Phillips first career NHL goal and first career NHL point.

The Capitals the tied the game on aa goal from Connor McMichael (1) at 9:54. Matthew Phillips (1) and John Carlson (1) had the helpers.

The second period concluded with the game tied 2-2. Calgary led in shots on goal 12-10 in the middle frame and 30-13 after 40 minutes of play.


The Capitals and Flames skated to a scoreless draw in the final frame.


The overtime period also went scoreless.


1. Capitals – Kuznetsov: Good; Flames – Huberdeau: No good
2. Capitals – Oshie: No good; Flames – Sharangovich: No good
3. Capitals – Ovechkin: No good; Flames – Kadri: No good.


  • Phillips, a Calgary native, is playing in his fifth career NHL game and his second game with the Capitals. Phillips, a sixth-round draft pick (166th overall) of the Flames in 2016, played three career games with the Flames, including two games last season.
  • Matthew Phillips recorded the primary assist on the Capitals’ second goal, his first career assist and his second point of the game (1g, 1a).
  • John Carlson recorded the secondary assist on the Capitals’ second goal, his first assist of the season. Since 2017-18, no defenseman in the NHL has more assists than Carlson (279).
  • Sonny Milano recorded the primary assist on the Capitals’ first goal, his first assist of the season. Milano registered a career-high 22 assists with Washington in 2022-23.
  • Connor McMichael scores his first goal of the season to tie the game 2-2. During the 2021-22 season, McMichael led Capitals rookies in goals with nine.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his 27th career career shootout goal to earn Washington’s first win of the season. Kuznetsov’s 45 percent shootout conversion rate (27 goals on 60 attempts) ranks first in franchise history (min. 15 attempts).
  • Spencer Carbery earned his first career win as an NHL head coach with the Caps’ 3-2 shootout win over Calgary. Carbery, the youngest head coach in the NHL at 41, was head coach of the Caps’ ECHL affiliate, South Carolina (2011-16), and their AHL affiliate, Hershey (2018-21)

Capitals Postgame Audio

Forward Matthew Phillips

Forward Connor McMichael

Goaltender Darcy Kuemper

Head coach Spencer Carbery

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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23 Responses to Capitals Rally To Douse Flames, 3-2 In Shootout; Connor McMichael, Matthew Phillips Score

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are no style points, thank god.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Go Caps!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Matthew Phillips gets his revenge! Youth stepped up tonight. Still need more from them and the veterans if this team is serious about competing with the big guns. But good stuff.

  6. andrew777dc says:

    Very encouraging, how the Caps improved as the game went on. Actually liked a lot of things tonight. D were better after the first, too. Kuzy bad boy of the shootout! Enjoy this one, and move on, lots of things to improve, especially with the oldest vets.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hard to believe you can look so bad and still win. Last time I will say it but the man on man defense is not right for this team.

  8. Anonymous says:

    1. Mantha benched, Phillips in. Should remain that way the entire season.
    2. Caps were soft on puck battles in the first. Once that stopped, the offense got going.
    3. Sonny Milano makes things happen on every shift. Need more guys to play like that.
    4. Tom Wilson is back and able to be a physical presence. Invaluable.
    5. While I understand that they want to move the puck up the ice quickly, the long breakout passes are getting picked off 50% of the time. More short passes to break out are needed IMO.
    6. Ovi should not be one of the top 3 in the shoot outs. It’s not his strength. Backstrom, Milano, or Phillips (who has the ability to put it up under the cross bar) should be number 3.

    • novafyre says:

      Ovi has a 31% shootout percentage (37 goals in 147 attempts) but honestly I can’t remember him getting a shootout goal. So I wonder how many of those 37 were recent.

      Personally, I prefer using prospects who have had good results in practice because the goalies aren’t familiar with them.

    • grudensucked says:

      The D is not good enough, and the 1st line was awful

      best line was 3rd and 4th lines, and Willy

      I like that Spencer shook up the lines today.

      But Ovi has led the team in turnovers the first 2 games. Cannot control the puck on his stick,

  9. DC Scappeli says:

    wow, what a crazy 1st period…I was yelling at the TV , lol. And whatever Carbs said in the locker room during intermission? Bottle that up, rinse and repeat as needed, Carbs! Still gotta work on some things, like puck possession, team D, clearing the crease.

    Best of all, are we seeing the impact the young guys are having? Please make it so! Hoping that CMac has gotten some confidence now that is only going to keep building. Caps need one of the young guys to break out and be a contributor and not a passenger.

    Oh, and sitting Mantha? Maybe Carbs sending the message early? To motivate him? Play the right way, keep your head in the game, and you’ll get some ice time. You don’t, then you sit.

    • novafyre says:

      Carbs has repeatedly said that he will play his best players no matter who they are. I certainly hope that is so. Good work in the games and practices should bring rewards. Remember, even Ovi has been benched. Gabby sat him for poor in-game performance, Hunter sat him for poor in-game performance, and Trotz sat him for an entire game for missing practice. No one should be immune.

      • Anonymous says:

        Then please explain why Backstrom is the 1st line center! To me he slots in better as the 3rd line. Just because something worked in the past does not mean it is still that way. OR is Ted and Ovie making the decision who skates with him? Just asking as who knows with this team especially as Ovie is knows as a “coach killer”.

        • novafyre says:

          I’m giving Carbs two weeks of regular season games to experiment, evaluate, talk with the players (and egos) involved. As I said, “Carbs has repeatedly said that he will play his best players no matter who they are. I certainly hope that is so.” If it doesn’t appear that he is in control and honoring his pledge after that time, I’ll get upset and vocal.

          • andrew777dc says:

            Carbs said yesterday he’s shaking up the top-3, including giving the top line a new look. He expressed much surprise at how the top forwards, especially the vets, lack speed of decision making, as well as execution. Was pretty scathing, if ever so polite (again reminds me of Saitama from One Punch Man!).
            What was interesting after his interview, though, is how Vogel seemed to downplay his criticism/outburst in the game preview. He only quoted a small part of what Carbs said, but only to say that the team is still learning and adapting to new systems. And then went on to quote Wilson, who said the team actually has to start playing a more simple game, the “pretty plays are not always there”, sometimes you just have to shoot it, or dump and chase it. Sounded a bit like a revolt is brewing… Maybe I’m wrong. But I think it’s something to watch.
            Yes, Carbs himself said you have to find the balance between looking for good plays, and just getting pucks and bodies to the net. But just a stark contrast, and his very vocal criticism of the top forwards, especially the vets, was sorta swept under the rug… Interesting to see how it plays out.
            I tend to agree with Carbs that puck management, speed of decision making, execution (all those passes into skates, bad passes resulting in giveaways, bad structures), etc., have to go. This is why the Devils, Golden Knights, Avs, Bruins, and other top teams of the league are thriving (at least as of last season, and in any case faring much better than the Caps).

            • andrew777dc says:

              In the last para, I mean the bad, sloppy, slow … have to go.

            • Anonymous says:

              How about ineffective or unproductive lines? Will he dismantle the 1st line and move all 3 players around? In my opinion Backy is not a #1 center anymore. If Ovie continues to not produce will he remove him from the #1 line and the #1PP?

              • andrew777dc says:

                He just made it clear the top line is not working, and players will be moved around. All in all, the top 9 will be rearranged. He said the 3rd line was the best line, and the 4th line was also pretty good. He praised Oshie the most, out of the first line players, but even though he spoke about Ovi and Backy’s struggles, he didn’t say what would happen to them, where and who they will be playing with now.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I like coaches decision to play Oshie, Ovi,
    and Backstrom mostly together. This lets
    the others perform and produce without having
    to prop up any old guys. They’re rewarded fairly.
    Even Carlson/Saundin pairing. Basically it’s
    sending a message that it’s nobody’s job to
    clean up after your mess. Do it yourself.
    You’ve played in the league long enough to know
    your job.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Three old, slow guys should not be the #1 line. And Oshie would be better on the 2nd line and Backy, if he has to be kept, on the 3rd. However IF he were to keep them as the #1line and they produce like they have, maybe another top 10 pick or even top 5!!

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