By Michael Walters
The Capitals went to work in the first period building a 3-0 lead. On an early power play, T.J. Oshie scored to give Washington an early 1-0 lead. Later in the period, Alex Ovechkin fired a shot from point blank range, which Gibson stopped, but the rebound came to Niklas Backstrom who hit the open net. The Capitals added one more when Daniel Winnik found Tom Wilson alone at the side of the net for an easy score. Washington dominated the first period building a 3-0 lead on 16 shots. Anaheim only had five shots on net in the period.
The Ducks responded in the second period when Jakob Silfverberg sniped the puck past Braden Holtby. Silfverberg fired the puck just past Holtby’s shoulder in the top left corner under the crossbar. Anaheim would then get a power play chance, but Daniel Winnik would score shorthanded to give Washington back a three goal at 4-1. Late in the period, the Ducks caused a turnover and Ryan Getzlaf ended up with the puck behind the Washington net. Getzlaf found Hampus Lindholm, whose first shot was blocked, but he followed his rebound scoring on the second chance. The Ducks trailed 4-2 heading into the third period. The shots were 10 apiece in this period.
The Ducks managed to come back to tie the game with goals by Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. First Kesler created a turnover, which Cam Fowler grabbed the loose puck and then found Kesler alone in the slot. Kesler fired it past Holtby to bring Anaheim within one. A few minutes later, Kesler would win a faceoff drawing the puck back to Fowler, who set up behind the Anaheim net. On the set play, Fowler passed the puck to Getzlaf at center ice, who blew past the Washington defense for the breakaway score. The Ducks came all the way back from three goals to be tied at four. It looked the Ducks might force overtime, but with a few minutes to go, Zach Sanford would score to give Washington back the lead. The Ducks pulled Gibson in the final moments, but the Capitals added an empty score to win 6-4.
The first period is what did the Ducks in. They couldn’t get much going in the opening frame and got down 3-0 early. Anaheim played better the rest of the game outscoring Washington 4-2(excluding the empty net goal). If the Ducks could have gotten off to a better start, then the result could have been different. Special teams play also doomed Anaheim. Washington scored once on the power play and again while shorthanded. It was good to see Anaheim rally and tie up the game, but you simply can’t spot one of the league’s best teams a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes.
The Ducks finish the road trip on Tuesday, February 14th against Minnesota at 5 PM PT.
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February 12, 2017