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Capitals vs. Ducks: Panik Sets The Pace In Physical Affair, Washington Win 5-2 Against Anaheim

Anaheim Ducks v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington came out and stayed hot, refusing to back down from a physical Anaheim squad, deposing the Ducks 5-2. After having lost three straight to Anaheim, the Caps snapped the losing skid in a bruising home win that saw 58 penalty minutes doled out between the two teams.

...and now, this:

Ten more notes on the game:

1. Caps came out humming in their return to Capital One Area fresh off their shootout victory over the Bruins on Saturday evening. The home team carried over their energy with the electrifying finish with a hot start as Richard Panik tallied his first goal as a member of the Washington Capitals just 50 seconds into the contest. It was the third time this season that the Capitals have scored in the first minute of a game.

2. Travis Boyd continued to show his value to the big-league club on his sojourn from Hershey, as his hard work below the goal line provided the assist on the game-breaking marker. According to the Capitals PR team, entering tonight’s game, Boyd led the NHL with 5.13 points per 60 minutes of play and a 4.1 assists per 60 minutes of play among players with 58 minutes of five-on-five time this season. With the assist on Panik’s goal, Boyd now has points in three straight NHL games (1 goal, 2 assists). He also has six points (1 goal, 5 assists) in eight games at the NHL level this season. Of Boyd’s five assists at five-on-five, four have been primary helpers.

3. At the first intermission, Washington out-shot Anaheim 12-7, though that number alone does a disservice to the way the Capitals dominated the pace of play. At times the Caps looked like they were set up in their power play offense, despite playing at even strength. This marked the fifth straight period in which they tallied double-digit shots, their longest streak of 2019. This season the Caps have narrowly out-shot opponents in the first period of games 231-224, though it was a change of pace for the visitors who have out-shot their opponents in first periods 243-190 coming into tonight’s contest.

4. A quarter of the way into the second period, Washington’s man-advantage unit went to work for the first time, and with laser-like efficiency put the Capitals up 2-0 courtesy of Alex Ovechkin’s 254th extra-man goal of his career. Evgeny Kuznetsov, now with seven points in his last eight contests, did John Gibson dirty with a no-look pass to Ovechkin with a secondary assist from John Carlson, finding the captain in his office just 20 seconds into the man advantage.

5. John Carlson recorded the second assist on Ovechkin’s goal, and is now on a seven-game point streak with one goal and nine assists (spoiler alert: actually ten apples) over that span. Carlson, who is continuing his strong season with the Norris Trophy a very real possibility, has now tallied points in 20 of 24 games this year.

6. Ovechkin’s goal was his 15th of the season, good for third in the NHL. His 25 points are good for 12th highest in hockey. The Caps are now 10-3-3 in games where the Great Eight has tallied a point.

7. With 33.3 seconds remaining, Brendan Leipsic drew threw Ducks into a fracas below the goal line, with just one Mighty Duck still playing actual hockey, Chandler Stephenson was left WIIIIDE open in the slot to deposit his third goal in the season into the back of the net to give Washington a 3-0 lead. With Tom Wilson on the bench itching to get in on the action, Garnet Hathaway stepped into the fray to stick up for his besieged fellow fourth-liner and took a match penalty along the way.

8. After Wes McCauley read the rap sheet, Washington was forced to kill off an extended man-advantage for Anaheim off Hathaway’s match penalty. Minutes later Ovechkin rumbled into the offensive zone, connected off a re-direct to Radko Gudas who found [Joe B voice] Jakub Vrana on the doorstep who jammed it home (inexplicably unassisted.) For Vrana, it was his 10th tally of the season extending the lead to 4-0, good guys.

9. After a double-minor high-sticking penalty by TJ Oshie with under eight minutes left to go, Sam Steel jammed the puck over the goal line on a third-chance frenzy in front of Holtby’s crease to give the Ducks their first of the night, reducing the lead to 4-1. Anaheim tallied one more between Holtby’s wickets with 109 seconds remaining to trim the deficit to 4-2.

10. The Caps fought off six attackers for the remainder of the contest, and Tom Wilson picked up a ricocheted clearing attempt ENG with assists from Carlson and Backstrom to secure the 5-2 win.

Despite losing the shutout in the third period, tallied his 25,000th career minute, becoming the second goaltender in franchise history to reach the mark (Olie Kolzig finished his illustrious Caps career 41,260 minutes.) Speaking of Olie the Goalie, Holtby remains just one shutout shy of passing Kolzig (35) for the most shutouts in Capitals’ history.

With the victory Washington improves upon the league-best record of 16-3-4, and a 6-2-3 home record. Meanwhile the Ducks fall to 10-10-2, 4-6-0 on the road.

The Caps return to action against the Blue Shirts on Wednesday, but with supplemental discipline for Hathaway all but likely, Washington will need to wiggle their way out of a cap crunch in time for the trip to the Big Apple.