WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin had four points, including his first two goals of the season, to help the Washington Capitals rally for a 6-4 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Capital One Arena on Monday.
Ovechkin fed Conor Sheary for a tip-in on the rush that gave the Capitals a 5-4 lead at 12:44 of the third period, then made it 6-4 when he diverted Yevgeny Kuznetsovnot until 17:02.
With 782 goals, Ovechkin is 20 shy of passing Gordie Howe (801) for second place in NHL history.
“Obviously, previous games had some pretty good chances,” Ovechkin said, “but even today you know the first one was a bit of luck, but in this situation you grab it and move on.”
Video: [email protected]: Ovechkin scores his second goal of the match
Kuznetsov had three assists, and Dylan Strome and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (2-2-0), who went into third trailing 4-2. Marcus Johansson had two assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves.
“I thought in the third period we straightened up and played a really good third period — maybe our best third period of the year and our best offensive period of the year,” said Washington coach Peter Laviolette. “We were on the attack and we were pushing all the time.”
Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists, Quinn Hughes had two assists, and Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the Canucks (0-3-0), who are on a five-game road trip starting the season. Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau, a former Washington coach, was looking for his 600th NHL win.
“I think mentally weak at this point would be a good assessment,” Boudreau said when asked if Vancouver’s problems were more physical or mental. “If you’re doing good, you’re waiting for good things to happen. If you’re in something like this, you’re waiting for something bad to happen.”
The Canucks, the first team in NHL history to lose their first three games of a season and gain a multiple goal lead in each game, held a players-only meeting after the game.
“That’s three games in a row now that we’ve had leads and teams away and it’s just unacceptable for us, it’s unacceptable for myself and my leadership,” Vancouver captaincy. Bo Horvat said. “I hold myself accountable, I have to get better. Luckily we play [Tuesday] night (at the Columbus Blue Jackets), so we have to have a short-term memory and go out and do it.”
Video: [email protected]: Carlson makes it 4-4 with a sharp goal
Strome pulled the Capitals in 4-3 when he knocked in front in a loose puck on a power play at 1:16 of the third for his first goal with Washington. Carlson made it 4-4 with a wrist shot over Demko’s shoulder from the right face-off circle at 8:43.
“I thought we had a great second period and I think the game plan for the third period was fine,” said Boudreau. “But it looked like we started to collapse and were afraid to win. They came at us pretty well, and we just didn’t handle it well.”
Ovechkin made it 1-0 on a power play 56 seconds into the first period when his shot found its way under Demko’s left pad.
Pettersson made it 1-1 with eight seconds left. Hughes threw in the puck and it bounced off the back wall and over Kuemper’s stick to Pettersson, who scored into the open net.
The Capitals took a 2-1 lead eight seconds into the second period when Martin Fehervary‘s dump-in bounced off the back wall and exited the post toward the slot where Lars Eller scored.
Horvat scored in the rebound from Tanner Pearson‘s shot out of the rush to tie it 2-2 at 8:03, and Curtis Lazar gave Vancouver a 3-2 lead with a diversion at 8:14.
Video: [email protected]: Horvat, Lazar both score in 11 seconds
JT Miller made it 4-2 with a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the left circle on a power play at 5:34 PM.
“Give them a few too many chances in the second, we let our foot go off the gas,” Strome said. “And then there are a lot of veterans here, who talked about it, knew what to do in the third and found a way to come back.”
Uppercase forward Connor Brown left the game in the third period with a lower body injury after a goal by Noah Juulsen. Laviolette said Brown was being evaluated.
COMMENTS: The Canucks penalty kill allowed six goals on 12 power plays. … Pettersson has nine points (six goals, three assists) in six games against the Capitals. … Ovechkin had his 159th multigoal game, passing Brett Hull for second in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (189). Ovechkin has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 13 games against teams coached by Boudreau, who coached Ovechkin and Washington for five seasons (2007-12). … Strome signed a one-year, $3.5 million free agent contract on July 14.