Ovechkin tops Gretzky for most road goals, Capitals beat Canucks

Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Ovechkin scored twice, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most road goals in NHL history, and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin has scored 403 of his 793 career goals away from home. Gretzky holds the overall record with 894.

“It’s always nice when you beat the Great One,” Ovechkin said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of milestone it is. It’s history.”

Anthony Mantha added a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3). John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored, and Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 shots.

Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks (9-11-3), who had won three in a row. Spencer Martin made 23 saves.

“Spencer’s been great for us. He’s probably a bit like the other players tonight. They weren’t ready to play and it showed on the scoreboard,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The 37-year-old Ovechkin nearly netted a hat trick when Vancouver pulled Martin for an extra skater with just over six minutes left, but his rocket of a shot skimmed the outside of the post.

“I think he has 13 goals this year and I want to say like eight or nine have been like a new record. So it’s been cool,” Washington center Dylan Strome said. “Any time you pass Wayne Gretzky in anything, it deserves a standing ovation, which he got.”

Fehervary was the one who sealed it, flipping the puck high into the Canucks zone and into the empty net at 15:57 of the third period.

Ovechkin topped Gretzky 11:52 into the first, firing a one-timer from the left circle past Martin to give the Capitals a 2-0 lead with his 13th goal of the season.

“On his second goal, it looks like, `Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” said Boudreau, who coached the Capitals from 2007-11. “He’s got a shot that finds its way in.”

The star forward from Russia got his first of the night 5:35 in, taking the puck off the stick of Vancouver defenseman Quinn Hughes near the net and batting in a quick shot.

“It could have been 6-1 after the first period, quite frankly, with the amount of chances (Washington) had,” Boudreau said.

It was Ovechkin’s 135th game-opening goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in NHL history.

“(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I thought we were really good in the first so it was nice to get out and get a jump like that,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “He certainly led. We knew we needed to have a good first period, have a good game, and you need your best players to do that.”

Carlson scored the lone goal of the second, chipping in a loose puck from the low hash marks at 18:47 to give Washington a 4-1 cushion.

“It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be about your compete level and battle level,” Canucks center J.T. Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t out-skill us today, they didn’t out-system us. They literally just outbattled us and created their own chances.”

NOTES: Washington’s Lars Eller got his 200th career assist. … Miller had an assist, extending his point streak to nine games (four goals, seven assists). … The Capitals swept the two-game season series. … Vancouver assigned winger Vasily Podkolzin and defenseman Jack Rathbone to the Abbotsford Canucks on Monday, then recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from the American Hockey League club on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Washington: At Seattle on Thursday in the second of a five-game trip.

Vancouver: Host Florida on Thursday in the second of a four-game homestand.

Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

“It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

“It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

“Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

“That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

“You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Vancouver.

Devils: At the New York Rangers.

Sergachev has 2 goals, 2 assists, Lightning beat Caps 6-3

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TAMPA, Fla. — Mikhail Sergachev had two goals and two assists during a four-goal first period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 6-3.

Sergachev is the first NHL defenseman to have a four-point period since Toronto’s Morgan Rielly on Oct. 15, 2019, He tied the team record for points in a period.

Nikita Kucherov, Nick Perbix Cole Koepke and Nick Paul also scored for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves. Koepke’s goal in the third was his first in the NHL, coming in his 13th game.

Tampa Bay was beaten 5-1 by Washington on Friday night.

“I thought our response today was what we needed,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I think we learned a good lesson on how to respond. I loved our response.”

Steven Stamkos had his goal drought reach 10 straight games, but picked up two assists. The Lightning captain has 987 career points, moved past Dave Keon (986) into 98th place on the NHL list. His 499 assists moved him within one from joining Martin St. Louis (588) as the only Tampa Bay players to reach 500.

Washington star Alex Ovechkin was held without a goal for the third straight game and remains 13 away from tying Gordie Howe (801) for second all-time. He received a double minor for high sticking Stamkos during the second.

Conor Sheary, Lars Eller and Garnet Hathaway scored for Washington. Darcy Kuemper, who beat the Lightning Friday night, was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots. Charlie Lindgren came and finished with 24 saves.

Washington assistant coach Kevin McCarthy filled in again for coach Peter Laviolette, who is in COVID-19 protocols and missed his second straight game.

“Overall, obviously, very disappointed with our effort, especially in the first period.” McCarthy said.

Sergachev opened the scoring from the blue line 1:23 into the game. After assisting on Kucherov’s power-play goal at 8:19 and Perbix’s goal just under three minutes later, Sergachev made it 4-0 on the power play with 3:38 left in the period, ending Kuemper’s night.

The Lightning went 2 for 4 on the power play, while Washington failed on six chances.

Ovechkin got the Capitals’ first shot from the high shot with 2:50 remaining in the first

Sheary got the Capitals on the scoreboard late in the second.

Koepke made it 5-1 with 6:49 left in the third before the teams combined for three goals in a 59-second stretch late. Eller pulled the Capitals back within three with 3:01 remaining, but Paul got one back for the Lightning 17 seconds later. Hathaway capped the scoring with 2:02 to go.

Koepke’s goal was not determined until a video review after teammate Brandon Hagel scored on the same shift.

“That’s a first,” Cooper said. “It was fitting in the locker room, Hagel gave that goal puck to Koepke.”

Koepke thought the puck may have hit the post as play continued.

“It feels great,” Koepke said. “Something you look forward to.”

TIME OFF

Washington forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel, assessed a match penalty for a check to the head of Lightning defenseman Cal Foote on Friday, served the first game of a three-game suspension for the hit.

“It wasn’t intentional,” McCarthy said. “It’s a fast game, obviously. You just have to live with the consequences.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Lightning: Foote is day to day. … D Erik Cernak, who had a shot from Ovechkin hit his lower leg Friday is day to day, while Sergachev played after taking an Ovechkin shot off the arm.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Florida on Tuesday night.

Lightning: Host Dallas on Tuesday night.

Alex Ovechkin scores again, Capitals beat Oilers to end skid

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WASHINGTON — With less than 2 minutes left and the Washington Capitals hoping to avoid blowing another third-period lead, Alex Ovechkin skated toward the net and, instead of shooting, passed the puck between his legs to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who knew it was coming.

“For sure I knew he’s going to pass,” Kuznetsov said.

After scoring again, Ovechkin’s most important contribution Monday night was a timely assist on Kuznetsov’s goal that allowed Washington to hold on and beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4, snapping a four-game losing streak. It turned out to be the game-winner after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 45 seconds later, but the Capitals will take a hard-earned victory without several key players.

“I’m hoping that we’re going to build after this game for sure because that’s a pretty good team and I felt like even when we give up goal we was never giving up,” said Kuznetsov, who had two goals and two assists for his eighth career four-point game. “We were always positive on the bench, we always support each other because we missing a lot of guys, a lot of D guys, and they stepped up today.”

Ovechkin scored for a third consecutive game, beating Stuart Skinner on the power play in the second period and making him the 163rd different NHL goaltender he has scored against. It’s also the third game in a row he has scored on a new goalie after Detroit’s Ville Husso and Arizona’s Karel Vejmelka became Nos. 161 and 162.

Goal No. 788 of Ovechkin’s career put him 13 back of Gordie Howe for second on the career list and 106 shy of Wayne Gretzky’s record that long seemed unapproachable. Ovechkin has heated up recently with five goals and two assists during a six-game point streak.

“Ovi, Kuzy and (Conor Sheary) were really good offensively,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought everybody played well, but you need your best players to be your best players.”

Capitals newcomer Dylan Strome had two goals and an assist in his latest showdown with former junior hockey teammate Connor McDavid, who was playing his 500th regular-season NHL game. He stole the puck from Oilers forward Warren Foegele and scored late in the first period, added a second on the power play early in the second and, with Washington skating 5-on-3, delivered a perfect cross-crease pass to Kuznetsov for his first goal of the season.

Defenseman Erik Gustafsson also had three points – all on the power play, where Washington went 4 for 5.

“Four power-play goals,” Edmonton’s Zach Hyman said. “Can’t win with that. Can’t win taking penalties.”

McDavid added to his league-leading goal total with his 13th of the season and Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the third period, but the Oilers could not pull off the comeback and extended their losing streak to three. Nugent Hopkins also scored a goal batting the puck out of the air in the first, and Skinner allowed five goals on 31 shots.

“It’s getting old, battling back,” said Draisaitl, who now leads the league with 17 assists. “It’s exhausting. It’s tiring. We just give up too many goals.”

Charlie Lindgren made 12 of his 25 saves in the third period of his fourth start with the Capitals, who were playing extremely short-handed with players adding up to almost $40 million in salary cap hits out of the lineup because of injury. Dmitry Orlov became the latest absence, joining defenseman John Carlson and forwards T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, Connor Brown, Carl Hagelin and Beck Malenstyn.

“There’s a lot of grit, a lot of compete in this group,” Lindgren said. “As a goalie, you love to see it. It makes you play even harder. It’s a fun group. We’re all competing, we’re all battling hard and to beat a good team like that feels really good.”

Forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel made his Washington debut after being claimed off waivers Sunday from Toronto. Defenseman Lucas Johansen played his second NHL game and first of the season in place of Orlov. Aube-Kubel, who famously dropped and dented the Stanley Cup on the ice during Colorado’s championship celebration in June, delivered a big hit on Evander Kane in the first period of his first game with the Capitals.

“Usually he’s a little tougher on his skates than that,” Aube-Kubel joked. “I don’t know, maybe I surprised him.”

UP NEXT

Oilers: Make the second stop on their four-game Eastern Conference road trip Tuesday night at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Capitals: Host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov suspended 1 game for high-sticking

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was suspended one game for high-sticking Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs.

The NHL announced the suspension, Kuznetsov’s first for on-ice play, after his phone hearing with the department of player safety.

Kuznetsov swung his stick and hit Burroughs in the face with his blade late in the second period of the game Monday night. He was given a two-minute minor penalty, and the Canucks scored on the ensuing power play.

In a video announcing the suspension, the league called it “an intentional stick swing toward an opponent that makes high contact” and said the purposeful nature of the swing and where it landed on Burroughs made it rise to the level of a suspension.

The 30-year-old from Chelyabinsk, Russia, will now miss Washington’s upcoming game Thursday at Ottawa and forfeit $42,162 in salary. He’s eligible to return Saturday against Los Angeles.

Kuznetsov’s suspension is another blow for the Capitals, who lost winger Connor Brown to a lower-body injury in the Canucks game. Their absences could open the door for young forwards Connor McMichael and Joe Snivey to make their season debuts.

This is Kuznetsov’s fourth run-in with the league. He was fined $2,000 for diving in 2017, suspended three games for off-ice conduct in 2019 and fined $5,000 for high-sticking last season.

Kuznetsov had three assists against Vancouver and trails only Alex Ovechkin in points among Capitals players.