With the victory, the Capitals moved back into their lone first place spot in the Metropolitan Division and the NHL. They also ensured that the Flames remained in the top wild-card spot in the Western Conference, as they stay fourth in the Pacific Division.
The Capitals opened the scoring about six minutes into the opening frame. As the Flames tried to make it through the neutral zone, Andre Burakovsky stepped up and stripped the Flames of the puck. Then, he fed a nice pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who sent it past Brian Elliott to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
Burakovsky picked up his 20th assist of the season and has points in two consecutive games since returning from injury.
However, just a few minutes later, the Flames would even the score. Johnny Gaudreau flew into the zone, entering nearly a 2-on-1 with Sean Monahan, who sent a laser of a shot over Braden Holtby’s blocker to even the score at 1.
After 20 minutes, both teams would go to the locker room with 12 shots apiece. Washington would have to find a way to break the tie and handle the Flames’ speed.
The Capitals came out refreshed and ready to dominate the second period, and succeeded right from the get-go. They dominated with plenty of pressure and led the Flames in shots 20-6 through the middle frame.
Finally, with about four minutes remaining in the second, T.J. Oshie tipped in a pass from Alex Ovechkin to score his 30th goal of the season. This is the first time Oshie has accomplished that feat, and the first time another Capital besides Ovechkin has reached the 30-goal mark since 2009.
With three seconds remaining in the period, Kevin Shattenkirk scored his first goal in a Capitals jersey and his 12th of the season – not surprisingly, on the power play. With that, the Capitals went into the final 20 minutes of regulation with a comfortable 3-1 lead.
The Capitals only managed eight shots on Elliott in the third, and the Flames came out with a lot of pressure. However, Holtby had no problem handling it.
With a little under five minutes to go in the game, former Capital Troy Brouwer rushed to the net, redirecting the puck past Holtby to pull the Flames within one.
Despite their efforts, a late delay of game penalty to Mark Giordano would spoil the comeback effort. On the man-advantage, Shattenkirk found Ovechkin for his 29th of the season, ensuring the 4-2 victory for the Capitals.
WSH- Evgeny Kuznetsov (17) assisted by Andre Burakovsky
CGY- Sean Monahan (24) assisted by Johnny Gaudreau and Alex Chiasson
Sammi Silber covers the Capitals beat for The Hockey Writers and is an NHL contributor with Sporting News. She has also contributed to USA TODAY College, Huffington Post, FanSided and the Nation Network. Silber has written four books and recently worked on graphics for the film, The California Golden Seals Movie.