The Washington Capitals had goals from five different skaters and Braden Holtby earned yet another shutout as they dominated the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-0.
With the victory, the Capitals extended their home-ice winning streak to 10 games. By the same token, they have four straight victories under their belts, which catapulted them to 80 points on the season.
This team seems to have no trouble scoring goals of late. They are the hottest team in the NHL, and all the way down to the bottom-six, their forward lines are showing excellent ability and chemistry when it comes to goal-scoring.
Washington went on the power-play about halfway through the first period. Alex Ovechkin scored his 26th of the season from the office on a powerful, heavy one-time shot, giving Washington the 1-0 lead with about 10 minutes to go in the frame. With a secondary helper on Ovechkin’s tally, Nicklas Backstrom extended his point streak to five games.
About three minutes leader, Brett Connolly also extended his point streak with his third goal in four games. After making a fake shot in the slot, he fired a dart of a wrist shot past Eddie Lack.
After 20 minutes, both teams were tied in shots, 7-7. However, Washington seemed to show the ability to do more with the puck and took advantage of the Hurricanes through the first period.
There wasn’t too much action in the second period- albeit two Carolina power-plays through the middle frame. However, the team couldn’t work with much on the power-play, and went 0-for-2.
Sebastian Aho had an excellent breakway chance in the second period, but Braden Holtby stood tall and easily turned his shot away, keeping the Hurricanes scoreless.
Carolina managed just six shots on goal through the middle frame. Eddie Lack made eight saves for a perfect second period in his first start since November.
A little over six minutes into the second period, Brett Connolly got a hold of the puck and led a 3-on-2 rush into the offensive zone. He made a quick pass to Lars Eller, who fired a hard slapshot past Lack to give Washington a 3-0 lead.
Seconds later, Washignton would add insult to injury, extending their lead to 4-0. Marcus Johansson made a nifty backhand pass to find Evgeny Kuznetsov wide open in the slot. Right away, he controlled the puck then ripped it past Lack for his 12th goal of the season.
With under six minutes to go in the third period, the Capitals got one last power-play opportunity, and surely enough, they capitalized on it without difficulty. Niskanen found Ovechkin for yet another one-timer, which Lack stopped nicely. However, he surrendered a rebound straight to the stick of Johansson, who never looked back.
Holtby ended the night with 23 saves, and kept Carolina’s arsenal of dangerous scorers off the scoresheet. With his win, he tied Peter Budaj for first in the NHL with seven shutouts this season.
WSH- Alex Ovechkin (26) assisted by Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Backstrom
WSH- Brett Connolly (11) assisted by Andre Burakovsky and John Carlson
WSH- Lars Eller (10) assisted by Brett Connolly and Nate Schmidt
WSH- Evgeny Kuznetsov (12) assisted by Marcus Johansson and Justin Williams
WSH- Marcus Johansson (17) assisted by Alex Ovechkin and Matt Niskanen
THW Three Stars
Braden Holtby (23 saves)
Brett Connolly (one goal, one assist)
Marcus Johansson (one goal, one assist)
Detroit Red Wings at Washington Capitals
Verizon Center, 7:00 p.m. EST on Feb. 8
Broadcast Channels: CSNMA, FSDT
Carolina Hurricanes at Dallas Stars
American Airlines Center, 2:00 p.m. EST on Feb. 11
Broadcast Channels: FSSW, FSCR
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.