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Ducks vs Caps Recap: Caps Clip Ducks 4-3 in the Shootout

Capitals finally win a game after regulation in a fun, close, 4-3 affair.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Caps took the ice they treated the home fans to a dominant performance over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Tonight, the Caps sought revenge for a performance that’s less fun to remember - back in mid-November on the other side of the country when Trevor Zegras sank the Caps in over time.

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: This was an extremely fun hockey game! The Ducks are a fun young team, and the Caps skated right there with them.

Minus: That said, there were a number of defensive lapses by the Caps, particularly when the Ducks were able to enter the zone with speed.

Here’s some more notes on tonight’s game:

  • First things first, former Caps and Ducks bench-boss Bruce Boudreau found his way back into the league today, leading his first practice with his new squad, the Vancouver Canucks. If you’re reading this, you probably love Bruce, so consider this a big Rink “welcome back” to Bruuuuuce.
  • On the other side of the coin, Alain Vigneault was dismissed by the Philadelphia Flyers this morning, and while that’s not expressly Caps-related, if you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in taking a moment of your day to close your eyes and savor the misfortune of that man and that franchise. Go ahead, we’ll wait.
  • The Caps went with Ilya Samsonov again tonight, as he seems to have claimed the de-facto starting job from Vitek Vanecek. Samsonov has started 6 of the last 7 games, and has been playing quite well over that stretch. Opposing Samsonov was John Gibson, who after a dip the last couple of years has resumed his elite form.
  • The Caps were victims of a premature whistle mid-way through the first, as the refs blew the whistle before Gibson had fully covered the puck, thus Evgeny Kuznetsov’s eventual slamming the puck into the net didn’t count.
  • However, the Caps quickly converted after that. After a faceoff win by Kuznetsov, Ovechkin took the puck and found Justin Schultz down low, who quickly centered it to Tom Wilson. Wilson converted on the wide open net, and the Caps took a 1-0 lead. The goal was Mr. Possible Olympian’s 100th of his career.
  • As noted by former JR alum Sammi Silber, Ovechkin’s assist was his 20th of the year, meaning that Ovechkin has 20 goals and 20 assist through his first 26 games. Unbelievable.
  • However, the Ducks tied it just 9 seconds into the period. Sonny Milano (who was buzzing all game) hit the post on an odd-man rush, and Josh Manson crashed the net to tie the game at 1.
  • The Caps answered 3 minutes later on a goal by none other than Carl Hagelin. Hagelin was the recipient of a fine back and forth play by Lars Eller and TJ Oshie, who slid the puck to Hagelin. Hagelin (just barely!) did not miss the empty net, and the Caps took at 2-1 lead.
  • Tom Wilson had his first fight of the season against third pair defensemen Simon Benoit, after Benoit had a questionable hit on Carlson. As a result, Benoit, who has 1 point this season, sat for the same 5 minutes at Wilson, who has 24 points.
  • Shortly thereafter, Sonny Milano tied the game again at two. Milano batted in a rebound after a shot by Trevor Zegras (who also had a strong game).
  • Even worse for the Caps, Vinni Lettieri sniped a feed from his linemate and partner in rhyming Troy Terry to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead.
  • However, John Carlson tied it with less than a minute to go in the second, potting his own rebound home to bring the score to 3-3 to close out the second.
  • After all the chaos of the first two might’ve expected at least a couple of markers in the third. However, despite an abundance of chances on both sides, neither team scored, so the Caps went into OT, where they were 0-5 in 3v3 and 0-1 in the shootout.
  • And after a really entertaining first 3 periods, the OT was anything but. Neither team had many opportunities, and the game entered into a shootout.
  • In the shootout, the Caps got goals by Daniel Sprong, Alex Ovechkin, and John Carlson to win their first game to go past regulation on the season.