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Capitals Nip the Vancouver Canucks in an OT Nail Biter, 4-3

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Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks celebrate their first goal of the evening against the Washington Capitals.

Washington Capitals 4, Vancouver Canucks 3 – Overtime

The Vancouver Canucks, winners of six of their last seven games, came in looking to extend their current winning streak to four. They fell just short. Lars Eller scored to finish off a crazy third period and overtime to win it for Washington.

Heading In

The Canucks line-up stayed the same from the wins over the Islanders on Thursday, the Maple Leafs on Saturday, and the Canadiens on Wednesday.

Stopping Ovechkin

Obviously one of the things to watch Friday night was whether or not Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin could move past Jaromir Jagr into 3rd-place alone on the all-time NHL career goal scoring list. Staying out of the penalty box would be a key factor for Vancouver, as ‘Ovie’ has cashed in on more power play goals than any other player in league history.

‘Ovie’ almost had one early …

Strange Start

The Canucks came out with good energy but were victimized by a tough break and then by taking a bad penalty. First, Capitals D-man Nick Jensen’s rim dump-in from the right wing boards hit a glass stanchion behind the Vancouver net, ricocheted out in front and bounced in past Demko off an unsuspecting Evgeny Kuznetsov’s shoulder for a 1-0 Washington lead.

Just 19-seconds later, Canucks forward Nils Höglander took an ill-advised holding penalty 190-feet from his own net and it only took the Capitals another 24-seconds to cash in on the power play.

On the goal, Ovechkin ripped a slapper from his spot in the LW circle that hit the post, hit the back of Demko and started to bounce across the goal line. Before the puck hopped across, Kuznetsov dove in and whacked it in. He gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 2nd goal of the period while taking away Ovechkin’s 767th goal.

Kuznetsov would eventually pick-up his second career hat trick.

Goal Scorers

1st Period 1-0 Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov (17) – Nick Jensen, TJ Oshie (5:34) Even Strength

1st Period 2-0 Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov (18) – Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson (6:17) Power Play

3rd Period 2-1 Vancouver – Quinn Hughes (17) – JT Miller (:57) Even Strength

3rd Period 2-2 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (19) – JT Miller, Quinn Hughes (3:19) Power Play

3rd Period 3-2 Vancouver – Bo Horvat (20) – Travis Hamonic, Quinn Hughes (4:59) Even Strength

3rd Period 3-3 Washington – Evgeny Kuznetsov (19) TJ Oshie, Alexander Ovechkin (15:07) Power Play

OT – 4-3 Washington – Lars Eller (9) John Carlson, Tom Wilson (:42) Even Strength, 3-on-3

Hippity Hoppity

The Vancouver Canucks young Swedish forward Nils Höglander possesses tremendous work ethic, quickness and skill. He’s just snake bit around the net. As we’ve discussed here previously and Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has pointed out, it’s just a matter of consistency for “Hoagie” at both ends of the ice.

As for lighting the lamp, he and his teammates hoped his game-tying, third period goal against the Islanders last week might open the floodgates a bit. Instead, not a trickle. Höglander has nine goals on the season and still seems to have the jitters around the goal crease. He works, he cycles, he doesn’t finish.

The thing to keep in mind when you’re dealing with a kid who just turned 21 in December is just that; age and experience. Slumpy sophomore seasons coming off successful first years are not unusual.

Simmer’s Canucks 3 Stars:

3) Travis Hamonic – Laid the lumber on more than one occasion and blocked 4 shots. Made strong defensive decisions to go with his physicality. Added an assist.

2) Bo Horvat – Two goals for the captain to tie the game and then to put the Canucks ahead in the third period.

1) Quinn Hughes – Goal and two assists and the minute muncher. Controlled flow as he so often does in all situations.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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