Caps come way back to win home opener

Caps come way back to win home opener
October 3, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Ovechkin slap shot hits the back of the net

Washington Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin (8), from Russia, makes a diving shot that is blocked by Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo (31), from Finland, in the first period of an NHL hockey game on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, in Washington.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 5-4 shootout win over the Calgary Flames in their home opener Thursday night at Verizon Center.

Game in a nutshell: Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Ovechkin scored on the Caps’ first two attempts of the shootout and Michal Neuvirth was perfect on the Flames’ two attempts, giving the Caps their first win of the season.

Power: If there is one lesson NHL teams need to learn, it’s to stay out of the penalty box against the Caps. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backtrom scored power-play goals as the Capitals erased a pair of three-goal deficits for their first win of the season. Powerful: Ranked first in the NHL last season, the Caps are now 5-for-9 on the power play in their first two games. They sent the game into overtime when Nicklas Backstrom scored with 5:50 remaining in regulation, completing a three-goal comeback from a 4-1 deficit.

Ovi factor: Ovechkin now has two power-play goals in his first two games. He blasted a Mike Green pass through Karri Ramo on his first goal, then pounced on a Nicklas Backstrom faceoff win and roofed a shot over Ramo for his second of the night and third of the season.

Carrick-ature: Rookie defenseman Connor Carrick experienced the agony of taking a hooking penalty and the joy of scoring his first NHL goal seconds later when he jumped out of the penalty box, took a pass from Marcus Johansson and deked goaltender Karri Ramo out of his pants for his first career goal. Carrick had trouble wiping the smile from his face the rest of the night.

Hillen sidelined: In what could be a devastating injury to the Caps’ blue line, Jack Hillen left the game 8:01 into the first period after being drilled on a clean hit from Calgary’s Lance Bouma. Hillen appeared to suffer an injury to his right hip, leg or knee and had to be helped off the ice.

Early shower: Braden Holtby allowed three goals on the first 11 shots he faced and was pulled in favor of Michal Neuvirth with 3:38 remaining in the first period. Of the three goals, only the first looked remotely soft, a hard-angle wrist shot by Jones that found its way over Holtby’s left shoulder. The other two goals were off scrambles in front. In two starts, Holtby has allowed seven goals on 45 shots in less than four periods.

Look ahead: The Capitals are expected to practice at 11 a.m. at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday, then hit the road for Saturday night’s game in Dallas against the Stars, their third straight Western Conference opponent.