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The Washington Capitals and Anaheim Ducks met tonight for the second time in eight days, this time in Anaheim. The last time these two teams faced each other decidedly did not go Washington’s way, with the league-worst Ducks coming away with a 4-2 win. The Capitals, coming off a disappointing loss in Buffalo on Sunday, were looking to even this season’s series with the Ducks tonight.
The Caps’ lines look just a bit different from the last time these teams played:
#Caps' lines/pairs in ANA:— Mike Vogel (@VogsCaps) March 2, 2023
8-Ovechkin, 92-Kuznetsov, 43-Wilson
39-Mantha, 19-Backstrom, 16-Smith
15-Milano, 17-Strome, 77-Oshie
73-Sheary, 26-Dowd, 96-Aube-Kubel
27-Alexeyev, 57-van Riemsdyk
Kuemper vs. Gibson. #CapsDucks
Rasmus Sandin was able to join the team for this morning’s skate, but work visa issues kept him out of the lineup tonight. Anthony Mantha returned from IR, slotting in at second line left wing. Evgeny Kuznetsov had missed yesterday’s practice due to non-Covid illness, but he was good to go tonight. With the departure of Erik Gustafsson on the blue line, Alex Alexeyev got the nod tonight in a perfect opportunity to show off what he can do. Could he take advantage of that? Let’s find out.
Here’s Wednesday night’s Plus/Minus:
Plus: The Capitals did a great job limiting Anaheim’s shots tonight, especially in the second period. Washington had a 19-4 advantage in the middle frame, and they held the Ducks to just 13 after 40 minutes.
Minus: The injuries...make them stop...please.
And now, a fun and friendly reminder:
REMINDER— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) March 2, 2023
The @PWHPA Showcase is coming to D.C. THIS WEEKEND!
Catch it live at @MedStarIceplex, or if you can't make it in person, @NBCSWashington will be providing coverage of the action! pic.twitter.com/gnznXfP9Uu
A few more thoughts on today’s game:
1. The Ducks got an early power play chance when Dylan Strome got called for tripping Brett Leason 2:25 into the game. Even (sorry) without Lars Eller, Washington’s penalty kill stood strong and kept the Ducks’ man-advantage from registering a single shot on goal.
2. Martin Fehervary got the scoring started with a goal at 8:58 of the first. The tally came at the end of a great passing sequence that involved who else but Nicklas Backstrom, who fed Fehervary perfectly with a stunning cross-ice pass. The Ducks’ defense apparently forgot about the right side of the ice, and Fehervary had all the space in the world to tap the puck short side past Gibson. This marks Fehervary’s first goal in 16 games, since mid-December.
Saucy!! pic.twitter.com/5xqeVX5XIU— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 2, 2023
With the secondary assist on the goal, Dylan McIlrath got his first point as a Cap in his sixth game with the team.
3. Troy Terry got the Ducks on the board with just under seven minutes left in the first period. Terry capped off an incredible solo effort with a wicked shot around McIlrath and past Darcy Kuemper’s blocker. 1-1 game with plenty of hockey left.
4. Unfortunately for the Caps, the injury bug continues to bite:
INJURY UPDATE: #Caps Nick Jensen sustained an upper body injury and will not return to tonight’s game.— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 2, 2023
Nick Jensen recorded just 2:29 of ice time before exiting the game.
5. The Capitals got their first power play chance of the night less than two minutes into the second with Ryan Strome sitting in the box for slashing Nicolas Aube-Kubel. The Capitals got some good looks, but were unable to convert. More importantly, the QB on the power play was up in the air coming into tonight with John Carlson injured and both Orlov and Gustafsson gone via trade. Blaine Forsythe’s answer? Simply no one. A quarterback-less PP1. Five forwards: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, TJ Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dylan Strome. Trevor van Riemsdyk was out there with the second unit, however.
6. Trevor Zegras was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at 7:33 of the second after he took exception to the referee’s lack of action after he got tangled up with Craig Smith. He yelled (and probably cursed) at the ref, who then put him in timeout. The Capitals were already outshooting Anaheim 9-0 in the second, and they continued to pressure the Ducks on the power play. Unfortunately for the Caps, Gibson saved both of their shots and the two teams remained tied at one goal apiece.
7. A mere eight seconds into the third, Tom Wilson restored Washington’s lead with a blast from the slot past Gibson. 5 goals in 10 games against Gibson for Tom, four goals in six games since returning to the lineup on February 18
WHAT A RIP! pic.twitter.com/tOIuTEQ5mU— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 2, 2023
8. A minute later, Anthony Mantha was awarded the first penalty shot of his career after Simon Benoit was called for holding him on a breakaway. It looked like his shot missed wide right, but upon further review Gibson just got a piece of it with the bottom of his blocker.
John Gibson makes a save on Anthony Mantha in the 3rd period #ANAvsWSH #FlyTogether #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/zkjRitfyEs— nopClips (@nopClips) March 2, 2023
9. Martin Fehervary was called for holding Troy Terry’s stick at 2:11 of the third. The Ducks did not score on this power play, but unfortunately for Washington they scored six seconds after Fehervary’s penalty expired. The Capitals failed to clear and Alexeyev turned the puck over, and the Ducks took advantage of the mistake. Trevor Zegras was down in front on the play and was able to get the puck past Kuemper to tie the game.
10. Tom Wilson fight alert, people! At 5:57 of the third, Wilson and Nathan Beaulieu dropped the gloves and got a good bout in before the refs broke it up. Wilson’s knuckles were bleeding and he went down the tunnel for repairs, but he was back before his five minute major expired.
11. Guys, it got worse:
INJURY UPDATE: Martin Fehervary sustained a lower body injury and will not return to tonight’s game.— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 2, 2023
For those of you keeping track at home, the Caps were down to four healthy defenseman after this.
12. The Capitals got a power play with 2:13 remaining after Frank Vatrano flipped the puck over the glass and got dinged for a delay of game penalty. The Caps stuck with their five-forward PP1 unit, hoping to snag the late lead. The lack of a defenseman almost came back to bite them after they gave up a two-on-one opportunity, but Kuznetsov broke up the rush and kept the game tied at two. Coach Laviolette called for a timeout with 45 seconds left on Vatrano’s penalty and 57 seconds left, but a regulation win was apparently not in the cards tonight.
13. The Capitals started overtime with Dylan Strome, Alex Ovechkin, and Trevor van Riemsdyk. Strome won the opening faceoff, and the Capitals never lost possession — 4:09 into OT, Tom Wilson scored his second goal of the game to win it for Washington. TJ Oshie set Wilson up beautifully with a centering pass, and the Caps converted on their first shot of extra time.
Tommy boy!— NHL (@NHL) March 2, 2023
Tom Wilson (@tom_wilso) finds the back of the net for the @Energizer OT winner! pic.twitter.com/4vUfj9DASc
This is just the third regular season overtime game-winning goal of Wilson’s career, and it snagged the extra point for the Capitals in the 3-2 win.
Up next for the Caps: the tour of California continues with a matinee game in San Jose on Saturday, March 4 at 6pm ET.