Kuznetsov scores twice, Capitals come back to top Oilers 5-2
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals didn’t let an early deficit rattle them Saturday night.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice and Ovechkin added three assists as the Capitals roared back from two goals down to earn a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
”We knew we could bounce back,” Ovechkin said.
Devante Smith-Pelly, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle also scored for the Capitals, who had lost four of five. Braden Holtby made 38 saves.
”If we play like we did those last two periods, we’re going to win a lot more games than we lose,” Smith-Pelly said.
Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson had the goals for the Oilers, who have lost three of four.
”There’s a lot of points that have gone by,” frustrated coach Todd McLellan said.
”You never get them back. They have the same value now as they do at the end of the year. It’s tough not only falling behind in the game, but it’s tough falling behind in the season, so we have a lot, a lot of work ahead of us and we’re going to have to play better than we have. It’s as simple as that,” he added.
The Oilers took the lead 12 minutes into the first period when Maroon followed up on Connor McDavid’s shot for his fourth goal of the season.
Edmonton made it 2-0 with two minutes left in the period as some sustained pressure led to Larsson getting some open ice and sending a shot into the top corner past Holtby.
The Capitals got one back with 18 seconds to go in the first when an Edmonton breakdown led to an odd-man rush. Smith-Pelly finished the play by firing the puck past goalie Cam Talbot, who stopped 26 shots.
Midway through the second, with a delayed penalty coming to Edmonton, Washington tied it on a bullet of a one-timer from Eller.
The Capitals took a 3-2 lead 30 seconds into the third as Ovechkin picked up his third assist of the game by feathering a pass toward the net that was deftly tipped in by Kuznetsov.
Washington got some insurance with four minutes left when Kuznetsov put on a one-man show, fighting off a defender and then hooking back to tuck the puck past Talbot at the side of the net for his second of the game.
”It’s nice to see guys smiling after games,” Kuznetsov said. ”We feel like we played well starting from the first period, (but) we just gave up some goals. But then we scored that goal late in the first and that was huge for us. After that, you could see we had a lot of energy, a lot of power and it’s just so nice to get those two points.”
Beagle sealed it with an empty-netter.
”We don’t have enough players playing at their capabilities, or at least what we believe their capabilities are, to consistently win,” McLellan said.
NOTES: It was the first of two meetings between the teams this season. … Oilers forward Jussi Jokinen played his 900th regular-season game. … Anthony Peluso played his first game this season for Washington after being recalled from Hershey of the AHL on Friday.
Capitals: Back at it Sunday in Calgary.
Oilers: Off until Wednesday, when they host the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey