Ovechkin powers Capitals to 4-3 shootout win over Bruins
By IAN QUILLEN
Dec. 29, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — Alex Ovechkin made the most of a quick opportunity to make up for a shootout miss.
Ovechkin scored in regulation and the tiebreaker, lifting the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old Ovechkin missed his shootout try during Wednesday night's 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers.
"That's one thing that Ovie does, is that (if) he had a failure, he sort of says 'I'm going to make up for it'," Washington coach Barry Trotz said. "There was no doubt that thing was in."
Lars Eller and Brett Connolly also scored for the Capitals, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won their 12th consecutive game over the Bruins.
Washington also ended a scoring drought that lasted almost nine full periods and overcame deficits of 2-0 in the first period and 3-2 in the third.
"It was not really one of our best games," Eller said. "But we battled back."
David Backes scored twice for the second time this season, but Boston lost for the third time in its last 12 games. Noel Acciari also scored for the Bruins.
Washington's Braden Holtby and Boston's Anton Khudobin each made 31 saves.
Connolly tied it at 3 with 8:38 left in the third when he attempted a centering feed toward Tom Wilson at the crease. Instead, the puck caromed off a Boston player and over the line before Khudobin could stop it.
Ovechkin had the only successful shootout attempt, finishing into the top right corner.
Washington gave up two goals during a 49-second stretch early in the first period, and then pulled even with two goals 96 seconds apart in the second.
First, Eller reached a loose puck between the circles and rifled a shot past Khudobin, ending a team drought of more than 178 minutes. Then, after Boston's Torey Krug picked up a slashing penalty, Ovechkin took John Carlson's feed at the left face-off circle and smashed it into the top right corner for his 24th goal.
"When you're able to get a 2-0 lead, you hope that you can step on the throat and finish them off at some point," Backes said. "The second period, a couple plays that they find pucks and they're able to score one. And then they get a power play shortly thereafter."
Ovechkin's goal was Washington's first on the power play in six games.
"It was very important for us on the power play to kind of bounce back," Ovechkin said. "It doesn't matter if I score or somebody else scores. Just to take the pressure off our shoulders."
Backes' second goal put Boston ahead 3-2 and came just moments after Washington killed off its fifth penalty of the game. T.J. Oshie gave the puck away in his own end, and Danton Heinen found Backes open for a shot that struck Holtby's glove on its way in.
Even then, Washington found a way to extend its Boston winning streak.
"We turned the puck over and just killed the momentum, and mentally that's really tough for a group that's been battling all night to get back," Trotz said. "And I just like our response. We just kept staying with the program."
NOTES: Washington assigned C Nathan Walker, the first Australian national to play in the NHL, to the minors. The 23-year-old forward has played in nine games for Washington, scoring once. ... Caps C Chandler Stephenson (illness) missed his second straight game but is expected to return soon. ... Acciari played one night after taking an illegal check to the head by Ottawa D Fredrik Claesson. The NHL suspended Claesson two games.
Bruins: Visits Ottawa on Saturday night.
Capitals: Host New Jersey on Saturday night.