A high-scoring affair at Capital One Arena did not end in Washington’s favor. After owning a 5-1 lead at one point, the Capitals squandered it and allowed the Ducks to score five unanswered goals. The Caps could not come back to tie it, and their impressive seven-game win streak is now over. This is their first loss since November 14.
Here’s Sunday afternoon’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: Nicklas Backstrom, Washington’s favorite underrated NHL-er, is already putting together an incredible season, and he wasn’t stopping tonight. He scored with 19:19 left on the clock in the first period, and he now has 19 points in his last 14 games.
Minus: The Capitals had a four-goal lead, but then they lost 6-5. Yikes.
And now, this...
Ovi wanted to go to the Teddy Bear Toss pic.twitter.com/9wYfWFpJwT— HockeyKot (@hockeykot) December 2, 2018
Ten more notes on the game:
1. Just 41 seconds into the game, our favorite hockey duo was back at it again, giving the fans a sense of deja vu. Streaking up the ice with a two-on-one developing, Alex Ovechkin, taking advantage of Gibson assuming he was going to shoot, slid the puck across the slot to connect with Nicklas Backstrom who tapped it into a wide-open net for his fourth goal in two games. On that play, Backstrom passed Mike Ridley (218) for the fourth most goals in franchise history and John Carlson, with an assist on the goal, passed Mike Green (360) for fifth place on the franchise points list among defensemen. No big deal.
2. The Caps’ fourth line combined for a bit of a fluky goal in front of John Gibson just five minutes after Backstrom’s tally. Nic Dowd, who has been playing well lately, made a beautiful cross-ice pass to Chandler Stephenson, who took a shot. The puck bounced off both Dotchin and Gibson’s skates across the goal line to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead. This was Stephenson’s first goal in 20 games.
3. The Ducks cut the Capitals’ lead in half at the 9:24 mark with a quick goal from Ryan Getzlaf. Braden Holtby stopped a Rickard Rakell shot but couldn’t control the rebound, and Getzlaf snuck in and slid the puck to the back of the net under Holtby’s left pad.
4. Rakell took a boarding penalty with seven minutes left in the period, and the Washington power play got to work. Just 13 seconds into the man-advantage, Tom Wilson scored his seventh goal in six games when he tipped in a John Carlson slapshot. This goal chased John Gibson out of the Ducks’ crease and brought Ryan Miller into the game.
5. Five minutes into the second period, Evgeny Kuznetsov wanted to remind everyone that he recently returned to the lineup so he scored an absolutely filthy goal to extend the Caps’ lead to three. He deked around Miller, wound up behind the goal line, and managed to guide the puck around Miller’s left skate and past the goal post. He now has three points (1g, 2a) in two games.
6. Nic Dowd, not content with just an assist this afternoon, gave the Caps a 5-1 lead with somewhat of a weird goal right in front of the net, redirecting a centering feed from Stephenson with his skate. This was his third goal in four games, and he now has points in four of his last five.
7. The Ducks brought the pressure at the end of the second period and scored two quick goals to bring them within two. Andre Cogliano and Rickard Rakell each netted a goal, giving the Capitals the most dangerous lead in hockey after two periods.
8. 6:25 into the second period, Dmitry Orlov was called for boarding, and the Ducks power play made Washington pay. Pontus Aberg pulled Anaheim within one with a wrist shot past Holtby. Two minutes later, Orlov was called for boarding again and the Ducks power play made Washington pay again. This time it was with a Hampus Lindholm wrister, bringing the Ducks’ unanswered goal count up to four. Tie game.
9. The Capitals would have another shot on the power play after Kiefer Sherwood was called for boarding, but they couldn’t break the tie. To add insult to injury, Aberg scored his second of the game and the Ducks tallied their fifth unanswered goal just after the power play expired to take their first lead of the game with five minutes to go.
10. Even with the extra man, the Caps did not manage to tie the game and send the tilt into overtime. The Ducks handed the Caps their first loss in over two weeks.