September 21, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: High-flying Caps douse Flames

OVECHKIN’S SECOND PERIOD GOAL IS 900TH POINT IN HIS ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER

The Washington Capitals kicked off the season with a nice 3-1-0 homestand. But in the second full week of the season, these Caps were sent out on the road to travel across the plains of Western Canada, out to the coast, and back again on a three-game swing.

The Capitals got off on the right foot, as Nicklas Backstrom scored twice and the Caps routed a poor-showing Calgary Flames squad 6-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome, with five different players and all four lines scoring.

Calgary broke the ice in the game’s ninth minute. A lazy clear attempt in the corner by Brooks Orpik led to a turnover by John Carlson. Johnny Gaudreau picked up the loose puck in the right wing faceoff circle and found Sean Monahan alone in the slot. Monahan calmly beat the defenseless Braden Holtby for his second goal of the season.

In the middle of the period, the Caps were forced to kill back-to-back penalties, which they did with little threat from Calgary.

The Caps (4-1-0) tied it with just under 4 minutes to play in the period. Some tenacious forechecking by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky led to a turnover, and Kuznetsov fed Burakovsky on the left post from behind the net with a remarkable pass. Burakovsky’s snap shot beat Karri Ramo for his first goal of the campaign, and Kuznetsov’s third helper.

Just 30 seconds into the second period, Washington struck again. Ovechkin collected a clear from Orpik along the left wall near center ice and barreled in on Ramo. Ovechkin’s first shot hit Ramo’s right pad and while Ramo tried to find the puck it bounced right back to the Great 8, who neatly tucked it behind Ramo on the backhand.

The goal represents Ovechkin’s 900th career point in 764 games and gives him four goals in four games played.

Ovechkin is the first player in Capitals’ history reach the 900 point milestone. With 479 goals, he is four shy of Sergei Fedorov for the most among Russian-born NHL players. Ovechkin even leads all players in goals since 2001-02 — though his NHL career didn’t begin until 2005.

The Caps weren’t done in the second though.

Orpik held a puck in at the blue line and Justin Williams tracked it down behind the goal. Calgary’s defense collapsed, allowing Backstrom to glide though the slot unmolested. Williams hit Backstrom in stride and his snap shot beat Ramo high glove-side.

Just 40 seconds later, Ovechkin held the blue line on a bouncing puck and pushed it to Kuznetsov. The younger Russian swept around the right wing circle and found T.J. Oshie camped in the crease. Oshie made no mistake, burying it past Ramo for a 4-1 lead.

Calgary got one back at 3:09 of the third. A neutral zone turnover turned into a four-man jailbreak for the Flames. Michael Frolik carried behind the net and hit Mark Giordano on the doorstep, who beat Holtby (17 saves) for his first of the year.

But just a few minutes later, the Caps restored their three-goal lead. Jay Beagle made a nice defensive play along the half-boards and sprung Jason Chimera on a breakaway. Chimera gave a little leg-pump and whipped it home for his second of the season.

Backstrom got his second of the game with just under 4 minutes remaining. He skated up the right wing, keeping a Calgary defender on his back, then flicked a backhander past Jonas Hiller, in relief of Ramo.

NEXT GAME: The Caps travel to Vancouver for a Thursday night date with the Canucks at 10 p.m. Eastern.

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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