Caps win 5th straight, Ovechkin scores 3 to join 800 goal club

The Washington Capitals made their way to Chicago’s United Center to face the Blackhawks. While the team was riding their longest winning streak, there was no denying Alex Ovechkin’s recent accomplishments. He was only three goals away from doing what only two others had done. There was an air of anticipation that history would be made this night. Fans and players alike could all feel the excitement bubbling under for what was possible from professional hockey’s most prolific goal scorer.

And the Great Eight did not disappoint.

Only needing 24 seconds, the Capitals captain put his team in the lead. Planting himself just a few feet to the left of the net, he awaited John Carlson’s pass. Collecting Carlson’s feed, he then shrugged off a defender, swung around and fired it past Peter Mrazek.

Ovechkin would not wait long to add to his brilliance. The Capitals got a power play several minutes later. The captain took his usual left-wing position, waiting for his teammates Sonny Milano and Conor Sheary to complete their cycle. Sheary put the puck towards the left side of the net. Sensing the opportunity, he outmaneuvered Jonathan Toews and tapped in the loose puck for his second goal of the night. The coverage began to break down noticeably after that and Chicago’s Tyler Johnson put the Blackhawks on the board with a minute left after Charlie Lindgren and Matt Irwin bumped into each other on the play.

The next goal came in the second period and also involved Ovechkin but as a helper. Dylan Strome began the rush into the zone and passed it to Ovechkin who put a backhand shot on net. The puck took a fortunate bounce to the front where Trevor van Rienmsdyk was alone with a wide open cage to put in his third of the season at 4:56. After a penalty to Nicholas Aube-Kubel gave the Blackhawks a power play, Toews took advantage of another coverage breakdown, slamming the puck in off Dimitry Orlov’s stick at 11:38. Aube-Kubel would lead a rush that led to Nic Dowd’s fifth of the season at 17:18.

The stage was set for the third period and more potential on ice magic. Just inside of the seventh minute of the period, Anthony Mantha lunged at defenseman Jack Johnson behind the net. Mantha forced the turnover, then found Evgeny Kuznetsov in front who fired a shot but was blocked. Mantha recovered the rebound when, from seemingly out of nowhere, Ovechkin charged to the left side of the net. Mantha flipped the puck to the captain who didn’t hesitate, calmly lifting the puck into a wide open net. Ovechkin’s 800th career goal was scored at 6:34 of the third period with Mantha and Kuznetsov officially credited with the assists.

His teammates leaped from the bench to mob him to share in the moment. The Chicago crowd showed their appreciation and respect with a loud five minute standing ovation and rained hats down onto the ice. The game resumed after a brief delay. At 8:59, Mantha would put in a goal of his own firing the puck through defenseman Seth Jones and past Mrazek for his eighth of the season. Max Domi would put in Chicago’s final tally of the night at 18:51 and Dimitry Orlov would get on the board with his first of the year–a hard point shot just past Mrazek’s blocker at 19:24.

NOTES—Aube-Kubel played his first game in nearly a month and collected two assists; he was inserted into the lineup after Lars Eller left the morning’s practice early and did not return. Eller’s status is unknown at this time. Lindgren, in his fifth straight win, made 26 saves. Ovechkin now has one goal to tie Gordie Howe for second all time. The Capitals come home for their next game, opening faceoff is scheduled for 7 PM ET.

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