October 1, 2020

Washington Capitals Game 19 Recap: Caps crush Avalanche

DMITRY ORLOV SCORES FIRST GOAL SINCE MARCH 2014, FOUR DEFENSEMEN SCORE

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals came out of the gate running, held off a mid-game resistance, and scored late insurance goals to beat the Colorado Avalanche 7-3 Saturday night at Verizon Center.

Seven different Caps players — including four defensemen — scored, Evgeny Kuzntesov had a three-point night and Braden Holtby made 24 saves in the process.

It marked the first time since Dec. 4, 1992 that four defensemen scored a goal for the Capitals (Paul Cavallini, Sylvain Cote (2), Kevin Hatcher (2) and Al Iafrate).

The Caps (13-5-1) were awarded a power play 1:05 into the game when Cody McLeod was called for interference. The power play unit had several excellent chances, but just as the infraction expired, Jason Chimera played the puck from behind the goal line to Justin Williams in the slot, and Williams whipped a wrist shot past Reto Berra for a early 1-0 lead and his fifth of the season, which broke a nine-game streak of Washington allowing the first goal of the game.

Williams has registered four points in his last five games.

“That was a focus this morning, let’s get a lead…we wanted to have a better start,” said coach Barry Trotz. “We want this building to be a tough place to play. We want it to [be known] that if you’re coming in here, you’re in for a battle…That’s something we’re working on and we talked about.”

Just moments later, Nick Backstrom won a puck below the goal line and found a wide-open Alex Ovechkin at the right wing dot. Ovechkin rifled a slap shot past a defenseless Berra for his 10th of the season to put Colorado in a 2-0 hole just over seven minutes in.

The Caps weren’t done though. And offensive zone draw saw a quality shot from Williams. Evgeny Kuznetsov grabbed the rebound and put it back to John Carlson at the point. Carlson’s bomb went through traffic and into the back of the net for his fourth of the year, right at the 10 minute mark.

But wait, there’s more.

Jerome Iginla cheapshotted Tom Wilson and both received roughing minors. Playing four-on-four, the puck came out to Nats Schmidt and he threaded a needle to beat Berra high stick-side, and the Caps led 4-0 at intermission.

Colorado (7-12-1) got one back in the early going of the second period, as McLeod took advantage of a Niskanen turnover and roofed one past Braden Holtby to tally his fourth of the season.

The Avalanche made it 4-2 late in the second with a power play goal by Nathan McKinnon with Evgeny Kuznetsov in the box, called for closing his hand on a puck along the boards after getting dumped in the corner.

“You know they were going to have a push,” Trotz said from the comfort of the winner’s press conference. “It’s a proud group over there, and they’re well coached with Patrick [Roy], they were going to have a push. You just have to make sure you just keep it simple and smart. I just thought in the second period we got too fancy; we could have scored another four goals, but we got a little too fancy, and then sort of let them back in the game. In the third I thought we managed it well. We had a killer instinct in the third.”

But 5:05 into the third, McKinnon tripped Ovechkin entering the offensive zone, and the Caps went back to the power play. After the first unit had trouble gaining the zone, Jason Chimera used his speed to enter down the right wing. He held, then hit a streaking Kuznetsov, who’s redirect of Chimera’s pass slid under Calvin Pickard, who replaced Berra at the start of the second. It was Kuzntesov’s seventh goal of the season.

Dmitry Orlov made it a six-pack midway through the third. He made a nifty move to get off an initial shot on Pickard, and the entire Colorado team stopped, thinking Pickard made the save. But the rebound went right back to Orlov, who then skated behind the Avalanche net, got the puck back on his forehand, and dumped it into the open net. It was his first goal since March 2014 and a huge relief for the offensively gifted rearguard.

Orlov tried to explain: “Puck come to my pants, so nobody can see it.” On the original shot, the save deflected up into Orlov’s gear. It eventually settled at his feet, and he was able to control the puck while the Avalanche defenders had quit on the play.

“I look around and like everybody can’t see it, so I thought, OK, I have a chance,” Orlov said. “I was scared (the referee) would make a whistle. I can see it’s an empty net, so I wait, wait, wait and then they start moving toward me. It was kind of a funny situation.”

Colorado got some window dressing a bit later, as Zach Redmond’s shot from the point was deflected through traffic past a screened Holtby.

But as was the case all night, the Caps had more to give. After an extended offensive zone possession by the top line, Oshie made a nifty cross-crease pass from behind the net to Karl Alzner, who slid it under Pickard for goal No. 7 on the night and Alzner’s second of the season.

CAPS NOTES:

  • Carlson’s goal tied him with Rod Langway for eighth in defenseman scoring on the Caps all-time list with 202 points.
  • The Caps’ four first-period goals marks the most goals in a period since Jan. 25, 2014 at Montreal.
  • Kuznetsov has recorded six points in his last five games. This was his fifth multi-assist game of the season.
  •  Tonight marked Jason Chimera’s first multi-assist game of the season and the third three-assist game of his career. Chimera has recorded three multi-point games this season.
  • Dmitry Orlov scored his first goal of the season and his first since March 2, 2014. Orlov missed the 2014-15 season due to injury.
  • Nate Schmidt’s goal marked his first goal of the season and second point of 2015-16 (1g, 1a).The Capitals’ four goals in the first period marked the teams most goals in a period since Jan. 25, 2014 at MTL (2nd period: 4g) and the first time Washington has scored four goals in the first period since March 7, 2013 vs. FLA.

NEXT GAME: Caps host Edmonton Monday at 7 p.m.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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