Ovechkin scores twice, makes history as Capitals beat Canucks 5-1

VANCOUVER — Alex Ovechkin has always loved playing on the road. That was proven Tuesday when he reached another milestone, scoring twice as his Washington Capitals defeated the Canucks 5-1 in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER — Alex Ovechkin has always loved playing on the road.

That was proven Tuesday when he reached another milestone, scoring twice as his Washington Capitals defeated the Canucks 5-1 in Vancouver.

The 37-year-old Russian now has 403 goals on the road, passing Wayne Gretzky for the most in NHL history.

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

Breaking records is nothing new for the future Hall of Famer and watching history being made has been a treat for his teammates.

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

Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (10-11-3), while John Carlson and Martin Fehervary also scored. Washington’s Darcy Kuemper stopped 31 of 32 shots.

Nils Hoglander had the only score for the Canucks (9-11-3), who got 23 saves from Spencer Martin.

The result snapped a three-game winning streak for Vancouver.

“It’s frustrating. Because when you lose games, it should never be because of your level of competition and level of battle,” Canucks center JT Miller said. “It’s frustrating because they didn’t outskill us today, they didn’t outplay us in the system. They literally just outskilled us and created their own opportunities.”

Ovechkin scored his first goal of the night at 5:35 into the game. As Quinn Hughes appeared from behind the net, he picked up the puck from the Vancouver defender’s stick and fired a quick shot to give Washington an early 1-0 lead.

It was his 135th goal in the game opener, tying Jaromir Jagr for the most in the NHL history books.

Ovechkin’s 403rd goal on the road came at 11:52 of the first frame, when he fired a goal from the faceoff circle for his 13th of the season.

“(Ovechkin) was really good in the first and I think we did really good in the first, so it was nice to go out and 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.”

Hoglander put the Canucks on the board 13:55 into the first with his second goal of the season. The Swedish winger picked up Miller’s puck and charged through the box, slotting a backhand shot between the post and Kuemper’s skate.

The play extended Miller’s scoring streak to nine games with four goals and seven assists down the stretch.

Forty seconds later, the capitalists regained a two-goal lead. Alone at the top of the crease, Anthony Mantha fired a wrist shot past Martin to put Washington up 3-1.

Lars Eller recorded an assist on the play, marking the 200th assist of his NHL career.

“It could have been 6-1 after the first period, frankly, with the number of opportunities (Washington) had,” Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau said.

The veteran NHL bench chief coached the Capitals from 2007 to 2011 and said Ovechkin is always going to score.

“On his second goal, it’s like ‘Oh, maybe (Martin) should have had it.’ But I’ve seen (Ovechkin) score 100 goals like that,” Boudreau said. “He has a shot that finds its way to him.

“Spencer has 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.”

Carlson scored the lone second count, hitting a loose puck from the low hash marks 18:47 into the period to give Washington a three-goal cushion.

Ovechkin nearly scored a hat-trick when Vancouver brought Martin out in favor of an extra attacker with just over six minutes left on the game clock, but his shot grazed the outside post of the empty net.

Fehervary went on to seal the score at 5-1, firing a high puck into the Canucks zone and into the unmanned tuck 15:57 into the third.

The result gives the Capitals a two-game season series sweep. They also earned a 6-4 victory over the Canucks in Washington on October 17.

GAME WITHOUT POWER

Washington went 1-0 with the man advantage Tuesday and Vancouver went 0-for-3.

UPS AND DOWNS

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.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

The Canucks continue a four-game home stay Thursday when they host the Florida Panthers. The Capitals take on the Kraken in Seattle the same night.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 29, 2022.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, Canadian Press




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