The Washington Capitals picked up their fourth-straight victory Sunday, blanking the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Washington kept their momentum through the entire game and never let the Canucks get too much time in the offensive zone, limiting them to just 20 shots.
With the victory, Washington has 37 points and was fifth in the Metropolitan Division for a short period of time — they were bumped to sixth in the Eastern Conference following Philadelphia’s 1-0 OT win over the Red Wings.
With three power-play opportunities through the first period, the Capitals couldn’t muster up too much but managed to get one goal on the man advantage. Of course, it was Alex Ovechkin, from his office in the left circle, and he broke a seven-game goalless drought to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. With a secondary assist on the goal, Nicklas Backstrom extended his point streak to three games.
Overall, the Capitals outplayed Vancouver, outshooting them 11-9 and keeping them out of the offensive zone for the most part. In the end, it worked to their advantage, and they were certainly energized by Ovechkin’s goal heading into the second frame.
There wasn’t too much action in the second period of play, with no scoring from either side. Washington had two power-play chances entering the second, but couldn’t convert on either one.
The only strong takeaway from the second was that Washington limited the Canucks to just three shots on net in the second, and played a strong defensive game.
About five minutes into the third period, Washington’s first line made a strong push into the offensive zone. Alex Ovechkin backhanded the perfect pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov right in front of the net, but instead of shooting, he dished it to an open Justin Williams for the one-timer goal.
Williams now has four points in his last five games, and appears to be getting his scoring touch back. This is a good sign for the aging veteran whose lack of offense has been somewhat of a concern.
Vancouver tried to make a strong push toward the end of the game, pulling the goalie and hoping to strike twice to force overtime. However, it was Tom Wilson who put the comeback hopes to bed with an empty net goal. Wilson’s goal also busted a lengthy 19-game scoring drought — his last goal was Oct. 29, also against Vancouver.
WSH- Alex Ovechkin (13) assisted by John Carlson and Nicklas Backstrom
WSH – Justin Williams (5) assisted by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin
WSH- Tom Wilson (2) assisted by Daniel Winnik and Matt Niskanen
THW Three Stars
First: Alex Ovechkin (one goal, one assist)
Second: Braden Holtby (20 saves, shutout)
Third: Tom Wilson (one goal)
Washington Capitals at New York Islanders
Barclays Center- 7 p.m. EST on December 13
Broadcast Channels: CSNMA, MSG+
2016-17 Season Series:
Oct. 15- Capitals 2 Islanders 1
Dec. 1- Islanders 3 Capitals 0
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.