April 24, 2017

Washington Capitals Game 58 Recap: Richards nets first goal as Caps top Coyotes

RICHARDS AND OVECHKIN SCORE 26 SECONDS APART IN THIRD PERIOD, CAPS WIN 4TH STRAIGHT

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals have given up the first goal in 12 of their last 15 games. They’ve lost three of those games, took a loser point from one, and won the rest. On Monday night, they added another to the win column beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 for their fourth consecutive win.

The Capitals are the first team in NHL history to win 44 games through 58 games.

Leading the Caps in “almost but not quite goals” and “he has to score soon right?” Mike Richards  finally broke his 27-game scoreless streak and netted his very first goal as a Cap. After numerous shots, including a nifty breakaway short-hander that he took end to end with some dazzling stick work, it was a dirty grinder goal from a rebound off Coyotes netminder Louis Domingue that finally gave the blue collar player his due.

“I was assuming with my luck that it would be disallowed,” Richards said of his goal “It has been awhile since I have scored a goal of any importance. It was nice with the standing ovation and pretty special too.”

“He deserves it, he is a hard working guy,” Jason Chimera said, speaking of Richards.

A mere 26 seconds before the chaos that Richards’ goal caused at Verizon Center, Alex Ovechkin did what he does best.  Setting up in the “Ovi spot” at the left wing faceoff circle, Ovechkin slapped one between a defender’s legs and past the Coyotes goalie. It gave him his NHL leading 39th goal of the season.

The first Caps tally came from the wizardry of Evgeny Kuzetsov on the Capitals power play. The Coyotes led for all of 2:32 before Kuznetsov took a pass from Andre Burakovsky at the faceff circle and made his magic happen, skating past a couple of Coyotes and taking a beautiful wrist shot. Kuznetsov now has 18 goals on the season and has extended his point streak to five games.

Brooks Orpik had the final goal in the last game, and was unfortunately involved on the other side in the first goal tonight. A three-on-two Coyotes breakaway led to a shot from Kevin Connauton that deflected right off of Orpik’s stick and top shelf behind Braden Holtby.

The Coyotes put their second one in when Connor Murphy sniped an unassisted goal from just inside the right circle. It was a quick change of pace one minute after Richards had put the Caps up 3-1.

Asked if it is a fun time for the Caps right now Ovechkin replied, “When you win some games and the team plays well then everybody has a good mood. Sometimes somebody has a good night and it feels good.”

The Caps are having some slow starts of late, but once again they take the two points and are on a record-breaking pace for the NHL. They now sit at 44-10-4 (92 points) and can feasibly clinch a playoff spot by the end of February. Oh, and match their win total from all of last year on Wednesday.

CAPS NOTES:

  • The Caps are now 26-1-2 when scoring a power play goal.
  • Marcus Johansson was scratched from the game due to illness. He is expected to be back for the next game.
  • Due to the make up game against Pittsburgh, this is the first of 10 games in 13 days for the Caps.
  • The Caps have now given up the first goal in 12 of their last 15 games.
  • Braden Holtby finished his night with 25 saves.

NEXT GAME: The homestand continues Wednesday  as the Caps face the Montreal Canadians at 7 p.m.

About Jacqueline Martin

Jacqueline Martin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page. She grew up in Northern Virginia and has developed a deep love for all things sports and all things DC. While attending American University she worked for the athletics department and followed the Men’s NCAA Basketball team to their first ever apperance in the tourney. She is an aspiring journalist whose ideal day job is running a large DC sports bar that favored only DC teams. If she is not in her office you may find her at Kettler attempting to skate backwards. You can follow her on twitter @JacqueMMartin.

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