WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin scored his 701st goal and the shootout winner, and Braden Holtby made 30 saves in regulation and overtime to help the Washington Capitals beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on Tuesday night for their second consecutive victory.
Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway scored to stake Washington to a 3-0 lead. The Capitals came away with two points anyway after that lead was erased on goals by Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor and Mark Scheifele.
Ovechkin finished the shootout to salvage a night celebrating his latest achievement and marking his friend Ilya Kovalchuk’s Capitals debut. Ovechkin scored his 43rd of the season two minutes in after a pregame ceremony to commemorate the Russian superstar becoming the eighth member of the NHL’s 700 club.
It looked like the Capitals were in control behind some strong play by their four Russian skaters. Evgeny Kuznetsov set up Ovechkin’s goal with a pass from behind the net, Dmitry Orlov recorded his first multiassist game of the season and Kovalchuk had one of the best scoring chances of the night when he was denied by Winnipeg goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
But after a strange sequence got the Jets on the board late in the second on a goal by Nikolaj Ehlers, a turnover by Kovalchuk paved the way for Connor’s breakaway goal in the third. Then with three minutes left, Scheifele went around Orlov, and the puck went in off Orlov’s skate to make it 3-3.
Winnipeg picked up a hard-earned point to keep pace in the tough Western Conference playoff race. But Holtby came up big in the shootout to hand the Jets their third consecutive loss.
NOTES: Brossoit became the 142nd different goalie Ovechkin has scored on in his career. Winnipeg’s other goalie, Connor Hellebuyck, allowed Ovechkin’s 600th goal. … Jakub Vrana scored in the second period for his 24th even-strength goal of the season. … Hathaway’s goal ended a 24-game goal drought. … Hathaway fought Anthony Bitetto 12 seconds after his goal and came up one assist shy of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. … Sami Niku was supposed to play in place of injured Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey, out a second consecutive game with an upper-body injury. But Niku suffered a lower-body injury off the ice before pregame warmups, so Bitetto was got in instead.
The Capitals visit the Jets on Thursday night to wrap up the home and home series.
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