VANCOUVER — It wasn’t the Russian everybody was watching Friday who beat the Vancouver Canucks.
The man getting booed, Alex Ovechkin, didn’t rating. The man largely ignored, Evgeny Kuznetsov, had a hat trick because the Washington Capitals blew a third-period lead earlier than rallying to beat the Canucks 4-3 in additional time on an electrical night time at Rogers Area.
Ovechkin’s historical past of assist for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and restricted feedback on his nation’s invasion of Ukraine has, rightfully, acquired as a lot consideration the final two weeks as his file of scoring targets within the Nationwide Hockey League.
However with an opportunity to make historical past on Friday by transferring alone into third place in NHL targets, Ovechkin was blanked on six pictures that included a pair of partial breakaways towards Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko.
Demko wasn’t as efficient on Lars Eller’s breakaway 42 seconds into additional time because the Capital rattled a shot below the goalie to deprive the Canucks of a second level after Vancouver rallied from a two-goal deficit early within the third interval to steer 3-2.
Kuznetsov’s third purpose of the night time had tied the sport with 4:53 remaining within the third interval when the Canucks’ Elias Pettersson’s goalmouth clearance throughout a contentious Washington energy play hit the Russian, then glanced again off the Swede earlier than the Capital pressured it throughout the purpose line.
And that wasn’t even Kuznetsov’s luckiest bounce of the night time as he opened the scoring at 5:34 of the primary interval when Nick Jensen’s rim-around the Canucks’ zone hit a stanchion within the glass behind Demko, bounced straight into the slot and ricocheted in off Kuznetsov.
His second purpose, on an influence play simply 43 seconds later, was swept throughout the purpose line after Ovechkin’s well-known one-timer overpowered Demko and regarded prefer it may spin into the web.
Ovechkin stays at 766 targets, tied with Jaromir Jagr, who wore No. 68 within the NHL for twenty-four seasons as a tribute to the Prague Spring of 1968, when democratic reforms in what was then Czechoslovakia had been stamped out by the Soviet Union below a earlier Russian dictator.
Ovechkin’s file chase added one other compelling layer to the sport, which was watched in-person by the biggest Rogers Area crowd, 18,814, because the pandemic started two years in the past.
“You all the time have that behind your thoughts,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat mentioned of Ovechkin’s perch on historical past. “You have to remember when he is on the market on a regular basis. Clearly, the targets converse for themselves. His means to attain targets, I imply, I do not suppose it has been seen ever on this league. Fortunately, (though) we did not hold him off the scoresheet, however we stored him from scoring tonight.”
Ovechkin completed with one help. The Canucks needed to be happy with denying him a purpose and incomes some extent after the Capitals’ early 2-0 lead stood till the third interval.
The Canucks swarmed the Capitals early within the last body, dominating consecutive shifts within the offensive zone and pumping in three targets in 4 minutes to eradicate the deficit.
Vancouver defenceman Quinn Hughes, whose constant excellence has been somewhat overshadowed these days by the historic scoring surge of J.T. Miller, drove the comeback with a purpose and two assists amid a mesmerizing show of agility and puck possession.
Hughes lower the deficit in half 57 seconds into the third interval, skating the puck to the center of the blue line, ready for visitors to develop and slinging a screened wrist shot previous the glove facet of Washington goalie Vitek Vanecek.
The Canucks tied it 2-2 on an influence play at 3:19 when Miller took the puck from Hughes within the left-wing circle, faked a move throughout the goalmouth and dropped it into the slot to Horvat, who rapidly lasered a shot into the highest nook.
Two shifts later, Horvat put his staff within the lead, calmly gathering the rebound from Travis Hamonic’s one-timer and steering it previous Vanecek at 4:59.
If you happen to didn’t already understand it was the biggest crowd because the coronavirus arrived, it was evident within the thunderous, unmasked roar that greeted the Canucks’ go-ahead purpose.
“To have all people within the constructing, it was rocking tonight,” Horvat mentioned. “Friday night time, packed constructing like that and coming again, the constructing was electrical tonight. It is too unhealthy we could not get all of it the way in which carried out for them.
“We’re glad to… combat again there within the third. However in the end we needed these two factors. All of the factors from right here on out are going to be big for us, and I assumed it was nice character by us to return all the way in which again and get that time. It is simply unlucky that we could not have gotten the job carried out.”
Kuznetsov tied it 3-3 after Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers, who’s six-foot-eight, was penalized for successful to the top on Kuznetsov. Myers was standing up, and completed together with his again to Kuznetsov. It regarded a dodgy name however, to be honest, so was the tripping penalty to Eller that preceded Horvat’s power-play purpose.
The purpose at the very least allowed the Canucks, desperately chasing a playoff spot within the Western Convention, to keep up some momentum within the standings. Two video games right into a seven-game homestand, they’re 8-2-1 of their final 11 contests and two factors out of a playoff spot.
“I simply suppose we’ve that perception,” Horvat mentioned. “We have now that perception in our room that we are able to beat any staff and we have proven that, and we have proven resiliency once we’re down. I feel it is simply us rising as a gaggle and rising as a staff that we did not have in the beginning of the 12 months. We’re enjoying for one another in there and that is all that issues. We wish all people to succeed and we’re glad when all people’s doing effectively and when the staff is doing effectively, so we need to hold that feeling going.”
With two assists, Miller prolonged his factors streak to 11 video games.
The Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning visits the Canucks on Sunday.