Highlights: Caps 6, Lightning 5 (SO)
Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 6-5 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin scored four goals and Nicklas Backstrom recorded one goal and four assists, spearheading an incredible rally back from a 3-0 deficit in the most entertaining regular season game in Chinatown in years. Eric Fehr, Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer[game-winner] scored in the shootout and goaltender Philipp Grubauer [37 saves] stopped Ondrej Palat to preserve the shootout victory.
What it means: The Caps extended their winning streak to three games and have won five of their last six. They also moved within seven points of the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins.
Ovechtrick: Ovechkin’s hat trick [plus one] was the 13th of his NHL career and his first since April 6, 2013 against the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. Ovechkin scored off a Nick Backstrom faceoff win to make it 3-1 with 5:45 remaining in the first period, then cranked two more past Ben Bishop in a span of 2:10 in the second period to tie it at 4-4. Ovechkin made it 4-3 when he raced to the net to bang home a Marcus Johansson pass, then rifled a Mike Green pass through Bishop for his third of the night, league-leading 25th of the season and league-leading 12th on the power play. Ovechkin’s fourth of the night, another one-timer rocket, came off a pass from John Carlson and brought the house down with 32.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
What was he thinking? Before this season, Mike Green had never taken more than three penalties in the same game. His first-period implosion – a double-minor for high-sticking, two minutes for tripping, another minor for high sticking, and a 10-minute misconduct – was epic. Green ended with 18 penalty minutes in that period. Not sure if that’s a Caps record for a player who did not get into a fight, but it’s got to be right up there.
Holts gets the hook: Braden Holtby had zero chance on the Lightning’s first three goals but he was yanked at the 11:07 mark in favor of rookie Philipp Grubauer, who allowed one goal on nine shots in the second period as the Caps mounted their comeback.
Look ahead: With two days off between games, the Caps will hit the ice at 11 a.m. at Kettler on Wednesday and at 10:30 on Thursday. They visit the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla., then face the Flyers in back-to-backs Sunday at home and Tuesday in Philly.