August 12, 2022

Washington Capitals Game 53 Recap: Ovechkin’s hat trick leads Caps over Wild on road


How did that get through? (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

How did that get through? (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin recorded his 14th career hat trick — in the second period — and the Washington Capitals registered yet another road win, topping the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

After a scoreless first period, Ovechkin took over, scoring three goals in the frame to give the Caps a 3-1 lead entering the third. It was his first hattie since Dec. 13, 2013.

Ryan Suter’s goal midway through the period made things interesting, but Jason Chimera’s insurance empty net goal with less than a minute remaining sealed the deal.

The Caps move to 40-9-4 on the year and 20-5-2 on the road. Minnesota lost its seventh straight and 12 of 13.

Ovechkin’s first came 2:14 into the second period. He pulled up at the Wild blue line and sent the puck across to Nick Backstrom on the far side. Backstrom carried to the half-wall, and the Wild defense seemingly forgot about Ovechkin, who glided to the far post, then redirected Backstrom’s cross-crease pass past Devan Dubnyk, who deserved better from his defenders.

 The Great 8 tallied again three minutes later on the power play. John Carlson’s shot form center point slammed off the back wall and back to Ovechkin, who used his supreme hand-eye coordination to bang the rebound past Dubnyk.

Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle ruined the natural hat trick with a goal at 11:27. Mikko Koivu shot a low puck on net that Braden Holtby couldn’t handle, and Coyle was able to ward off Backstrom and Karl Alzner to slip it past Holtby on the backhand to make it 2-1.

Ovechkin wasn’t done. He was camped in the crease when Backstrom sent one toward the net. It bounced off Dubnyk and right to Ovechkin, who on the second whack flipped it back on net and it slipped through Dubnyk for his 34rd of the season.

Suter’s goal was of the power play variety with Justin Williams in the box on a cross-checking call, and made for some nervous moments down the stretch in an unevenly officiated affair.

Late, Minnesota lifted Dubnyk for an extra skater, and a long rebound came out to Tom Wilson, who shoved it forward for Chimera to race down, then politely guide it into the open net to provide the Caps fourth goal.

The Wild tacked one on with four seconds remaining, as Michael Granlund snuck one past Holtby as the Caps netminder had Zack Parise draped all over him. After official review, the refs allowed it to stand — enraging Holtby but not affecting the outcome.

NEXT GAME: The Caps continue their road trip on Saturday at Dallas at 8 p.m. Eastern.

CAPS NOTES: Evgeny Kuzntesov left the game after getting butt-ended by Granlund in the third period after a face-off at center ice. He did not return and the team said he’d be reevaluated later.




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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