CALGARY, Alta. â Alex Ovechkin scored twice to tie for third on the NHL’s career goals list, and Nic Dowd scored the go-ahead goal as the Washington Capitals rallied in the third period to beat the Calgary Flames 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Ovechkin’s second goal, an empty net 18:12 into the third that gave Washington a 5-3 lead, was his 766th career goal, tying him with Jaromir Jagr for third place in history. of the NHL. Wayne Gretzky leads the list with 894 goals and Gordie Howe is second with 801.
“Obviously it’s always nice to hear those kinds of milestones, numbers,” Ovechkin said. “It’s pretty big, obviously, and like I’ve always said, to be with these names and in this company, it’s a pretty cool time.”
Ovechkin, 36, has 36 goals this season and has scored in three straight games.
“I think the guys are just excited for him,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “We don’t talk about it a lot. I think everyone knows what’s going on and it’s great to be a part of it.”
Connor Sheary and Anthony Mantha also scored for Washington (31-18-9), which earned its third straight victory. Vitek Vanecek made 31 saves and improved to 13-7-5.
Adam Ruzicka, Oliver Kylington and Elias Lindholm scored for Calgary (34-15-7), which saw its 13-game unbeaten streak come to an end at home. The Pacific Division-leading Flames are down 14-2-1 in their last 17 games overall. Dan Vladar, starting for the second time in three games with Jacob Markstrom on leave, made 22 saves and fell to 8-4-1.
After Lindholm’s second goal with 40 seconds remaining put Calgary less than a point behind, Ovechkin had a chance for a hat trick in the closing seconds, but his shot into the empty net was deflected by Lindholm.
âI was hoping for it, but he touched his skates. How are you. I’ll take it tomorrow,â Ovechkin said.
Dowd thought he and his teammates were about to witness history.
“I couldn’t believe one of them got blocked at the end, but it was awesome,” Dowd said. “Obviously we’re super excited for him and guys are trying to find him all over the ice and just to be part of it and just watch him, he’s the best. So really happy for him.”
One night after the Flames showed their support for Ukraine by having Ukrainian-Canadian opera singer Stephania Romaniuk sing the Ukrainian anthem before Calgary’s game against the Oilers, some of the crowd of 15,628 Saddledome spectators booed Ovechkin every time he touched the puck, especially early in the game.
Ovechkin has always been a strong supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Capitals captain’s Instagram account features a photo of him standing next to Putin. A photo of the two is also Ovechkin’s Instagram profile picture.
After the match, Ovechkin spoke only about the contest.
Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, Calgary took its second lead of the game at 3:45 when Kylington’s slapshot deflected off Connor McMichael’s stick and past Vanecek.
But the Capitals tied the game at 8:21 on Mantha’s goal and took the lead just over three minutes later.
Picking up the puck on the sideboards, Dowd cut nicely to avoid Lindholm, then from the face-off spot fired a shot into the top corner for his eighth goal and first in 10 games.
“We have a veteran team, so we’ve been there before,” Dowd said. “But it was one of the first games this year where we missed a goal, we stayed with him in a tough building against a good team in their building, and did all the little things right, and we been rewarded for it at the end.”
The Capitals were also down 2-0 in the second, but came back on top to tie the game.
McMichael was stopped on a clean save by Vladar, but Milan Lucic bounced the rebound into the slot where Sheary buried his fourth goal in as many games. Sheary has a four-game point streak (four goals, two assists).
The Capitals tied at 1:23 on another turnover. Sean Monahan, in his own net, lost the puck to Evgeny Kuznetsov and the puck went straight to Ovechkin, who beat Vladar.
“He’s got a good shot. I think he does pretty much the same thing all the time, but when he gets his chance he capitalizes,” Kylington said. “I think it’s special with him. A player like him, you have to play him tight. You have to minimize space for him and be above him all the time.”
Calgary took a 2-on-1 lead midway through the first period when Lindholm took a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and scored his 28th goal.
Ruzicka made it 2-0 at 8:54 of the second.
NOTES: The Capitals are 20-3-4 when Ovechkin scores. … It was the 1,000th game that Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom had played together. They are the first group of Capitals teammates to achieve this milestone. Dustin Brown and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar are the only other active duo to have accomplished the feat. … Calgary C Mikael Backlund played Game 800 of his career, all with the Flames. This ranks him fifth in franchise history.
Washington: At the Edmonton Oilers in Game 2 of a three-game road trip.
Calgary: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of a four-game homestand.
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