The Avalanche gave Alex Ovechkin ample opportunity to become the eighth player in NHL history to reach 700 goals Thursday. Ovechkin, who is No. 3 all-time with 259 career power-play goals, was a mainstay in the Washington Capitals‘ five opportunities with the man-advantage at the Pepsi Center.
The Russian superstar didn’t have a point in the game, but he might have been a decoy as the Caps scored two power-play goals to climb out of a two-goal deficit and skate off 3-2 winners — snapping Colorado’s five-game winning streak.
Ovechkin finished with seven shots, one fewer than Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon.
T.J. Oshie scored the game-winner at even-strength minutes after Tom Wilson scored a power-play goal on Washington’s fifth man advantage at 12:48. Avs first-line winger Andre Burakovsky was in the penalty box for high-sticking Oshie, who went on to score at 17:58.
“Stupid penalty that I took,” Burakovsky said. “When you take a lot of penalties you lose momentum.”
The Avs also had significant time on the power play but went 1 for 4. Colorado committed five stick penalties — including hooking (by Joonas Donskoi) and slashing (Ian Cole). Tyson Jost and Erik Johnson also served time for high-sticking.
“The game became choppy that way,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said of the penalties. “There was no real rhythm to it. We wanted to stay on the gas, on the attack and stay in the O-zone but we’re you’re playing 4-on-5 (so much) it’s hard to do.”
MacKinnon‘s new-configured line had a hand in Colorado’s two first-period goals, by Burakovsky (power play) and Mikko Rantanen. Nicklas Backstrom also scored a power-play goal midway through the second period to cut Washington’s two-goal deficit in half.
The Avs clung to a 2-1 lead after two periods following a power-play friendly final 10 minutes of the frame in which both teams had giant opportunities on the advantage. Colorado failed to capitalize on three power plays — including a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:00.
But the Avs continued to take penalties and Washington got the equalizer when Burakovsky caught Oshie in the lip with his stick. Wilson, from the doorstep in front of goalie Philipp Grubauer, tied it 2-2 by redirecting a long shot from John Carlson.
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Avalanche takeaways: Can this excellent road team bring that magic back to the Pepsi Center?
Washington scored on its first power play to cut Colorado’s 2-0 deficit in half midway through the second period.
“You should expect for the other team to come and push. We should be ready for it,” Avs defenseman Nikita Zadorov said of protecting a 2-0 lead. “For sure, they came desperate. (Then) they were one goal behind. They got a second goal their emotion back, their jump.”
— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) February 14, 2020
The Avs take their home ice to the Air Force Academy, where they will practice Friday afternoon and play Saturday’s NHL Stadium Series game against the Los Angeles Kings at Falcon Stadium. They return to the Pepsi Center for Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Footnotes. Colorado franchise legend Peter Forsberg was in attendance and will presumably attend Saturday’s game with many other Avalanche alumni. … The Avs played their second game without center Nazem Kadri, who will miss 4-6 weeks with a leg injury.
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