NHL Game Day: Ovechkin continues goal quest; Kraken look to rebound; and Hawks still winless
The Washington Capitals will be looking for a better outcome than their first meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning when they clash again Monday in Florida.
In their first matchup in the nation’s capital, Tampa Bay won 2-1 in overtime when Steven Stamkos raced down one-on-one against defenseman John Carlson and zipped the game-winning goal past Washington goalie Vitek Vanecek with 15 seconds left in the five-minute session.
Washington has played without standout center Nicklas Backstrom from the start, but Ovechkin, 36, has picked up the slack — scoring goals in four straight games and a point in all eight.
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Ovechkin streaking up goal list
The streak is his longest to start since his rookie season of 2005-06 — the campaign in which he claimed the Calder Trophy awarded to the league’s top first-year player.
Ovechkin has nine goals and six assists — his most recent tally an empty-netter Friday to wrap up the Capitals’ 2-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
After a slow start, the Lightning have been buoyed by the rejuvenated play of Stamkos, who at 31 is showing the form that won him the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer — sharing the honor with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in 2009-10 and winning it outright in 2011-12.
In the season’s first eight games, Stamkos has totaled 12 points (five goals, seven assists), helping to offset the production drop-off with right wing Nikita Kucherov out 8 to 10 weeks for an unspecified injury incurred against Washington.
Senators look to keep Blackhawks winless
Ottawa Senators rookie Josh Norris centers a line with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson, the oldest of whom is 23.
The budding trio combined for five points Friday in a 4-1 victory at Dallas, helping Ottawa snap a three-game losing streak.
As they look to keep the Senators rolling during a visit to the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night, the group credits a dedication to doing the little things.
“We’re playing with confidence, we’re playing simple, and I think that’s the main thing,” Norris said. “We know how we have to play in the last two games, and we’re just been kind of clicking and finding chemistry. Drake’s making plays and Brady’s on the forecheck, but it’s a lot of fun right now.”
Chicago still is searching for its first win of the season, as well as its first offensive output of more than three goals.
The Blackhawks are coming off Saturday’s 1-0 road loss to the St. Louis Blues. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 shots, but Chicago managed only 25 shots against the Blues’ Jordan Binnington.
“All I want is a win,” said Fleury, who has lost each of his first five starts with the Blackhawks. “It doesn’t matter how we get it. It was nice not to give up four or five or six goals. It’s been very frustrating. Embarrassing at times.”
Veteran forward Patrick Kane didn’t play Saturday, due to COVID-19 protocol but will return tonight.
Kraken look to rebound
The Oilers are coming off a 2-1 road victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday in which they scored twice with the man advantage. Edmonton’s power play has been downright lethal so far this season, with a 47.8 percent success rate (11-for-23). The Oilers have scored a power-play goal in seven games to start the season for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign.
“This power play, every time they’re out there wants to score and thinks that they can score,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said. “We don’t really think about the numbers or the percentages, it’s just, ‘let’s go get a goal.’ “
It should surprise nobody that Oilers captain Connor McDavid has four power-play goals (along with nine power-play points), but Edmonton has five forwards who have lit the lamp on the man-advantage.
The Kraken arrive in Edmonton after their modest two-game winning streak was snapped Sunday night with a 3-1 home loss to the New York Rangers — a game in which Seattle outshot the Rangers by a 32-18 margin. The Kraken likely deserved a better fate, especially after dominating the second period by a 13-2 shot margin but only scoring once. The Rangers, who have won five straight road games, netted the winning goal in the third period before an empty-net tally made it a two-goal difference.
“Those ones are always tough when you feel like you’ve carried to play and you find a way to lose,” forward Jordan Eberle said. “So, I guess the positive would be that if you play that way most nights, bounces go in and you find a way to win.”
–Field Level Media