December 15, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 45 Recap: Williams picks up hat trick as Caps best Rangers

CAPITALS WIN 12TH STRAIGHT AT HOME, ONE SHY OF FRANCHISE RECORD

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Returning to their winning ways after an uncharacteristically sloppy performance on Saturday against Buffalo, the Washington Capitals used three goals from Justin Williams — his second career hat trick — and one each from Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson to beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Sunday night in the District.

The win puts the Caps (34-8-3) 17 points ahead of the New York Islanders in the Metro Division, with the Rangers 18 points back.

The Rangers held a one-point lead in the division on Dec. 1.

A Chris Kreider tally halfway through the first period gave Washington (34-8-3) its only deficit of the night, one which Alex Ovechkin washed away with a laser of a shot with 1:59 to go in the opening frame.

New Capitals forward Mike Richards almost scored his first goal in over a year, but Rangers goalie Antti Raanta denied him just in time.

Braden Holtby left the game late in the second period after talking with team trainers, and did not return due to dehydration, according to the team. Philipp Grubauer made 10 saves in his second relief appearance in as many nights.

Williams’ hat trick was his first since Oct. 16, 2006 when he played with Carolina.

THREE STARS:

Third star: Evgeny Kuznetsov (3 assists, 9 of 17 on faceoffs)

Second star: Chris Kreider (2 goals)

First star: Justin Williams (3 goals)

CAPS NOTES:

  • Justin Williams has seven points in his last five games (5g, 2a).
  • Philipp Grubauer stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief of Braden Holtby. In his last six appearances, Grubauer has posted a 3-1-0 record with a 1.36 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 27th goal of the season and his 10th power-play goal. He has scored six goals in his last six games.
  • Washington is 21-0-2 this season in games when it scores a power-play goal. Tonight marked the 11th time this season the Capitals have scored two or more power-play goals in a game.

NEXT GAME: Tuesday, Caps at Columbus at 7 p.m.

About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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