Ovi ties Jagr: Caps beat Flames 5-4

If you stayed up late to watch the Washington Capitals start their Canadian road trip, you were rewarded with one of the best performances of the season. The Calgary Flames are a damn good team, and the Caps played up to the challenge.

Elias Lindholm scored the first real goal of the game, taking a nifty pass from Johnny Gaudreau. Andrew Mangiapane set up Adam Ruzicka to make it 2-0, but the Caps fired back, first with a broken-play goal from red-hot Conor Sheary, then with a marker from Alex Ovechkin.

In the third period, Oliver Kylington evaded Vitek Vanecek’s vision to restore Calgary’s lead. Anthony Mantha knotted it again with a genius-caliber shot release. After a strong power play, Nic Dowd put the Caps ahead with eight minutes left in regulation. Ovi got an empty-netter to seal the deal (and to tie Jagr). Lindholm got another one in garbage time, but the Caps held on.

Capswin!

  • I really, really liked how Washington played this one. They got outshot, but the Caps found ways to pressure in neutral that I’ve not seen them use this season. They were able to sustain pressure through multiple shifts, forcing the Flames to make mistakes. They got good goaltending as long as the goalie saw the puck.
  • Calgary had a goal called back in the first period. I’m sure the Caps players were relieved the play was found to have been off-side, but Peter Laviolette couldn’t have loved how the skaters gave up on that play.
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s two goals tie him with the human legend Jaromir Jagr in all-time goals. I don’t know if I’ve shared here my personal evolution on JJ, but I can’t help but love him now. He had a bad time when he was a Cap, but that’s just a tiny blip in a long career. Jagr forever. (Ovi now.)
  • Nicklas Backstrom and Ovechkin played in their 1,000th game together. They didn’t share the ice much in this one though — just about two minutes, and mostly during the power play.
  • Washington’s best forward line by a mile was Sheary-Eller-McMichael. Conor Sheary in particular is on a tear lately, with four goals in his last four games. I’ll add that McMichael had a shift with like four minutes left, which is a pretty big deal for him.
  • Anthony Mantha must have heard that Jakub Vrana scored in his season debut for Detroit. Mantha played possessed, scavenging a bunch of chances before he finally converted in the third.

Like I said above, this was a very good game. This wasn’t just two From Software-difficulty road points; this was a performance the team can and should build off.

Hope this was a fine ending for all our international women out there. And to all our international men, consider telling your women colleagues how much you’re paid at your job. It can be useful information.

See you tomorrow for the Edmonton game!

Headline photo: KP/RMNB

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