BELLEVILLE, Ontario -- Two former Belleville Bulls goaltenders put on a show for their hometown fans Saturday night.
Philipp Grubauer, who relieved Braden Holtby midway through the second period, made 25 saves through overtime then went 4-for-4 in the shootout to lead the Washington Capitals to an entertaining 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets in the Kraft Hockeyville game at Yardmen Arena.
"I was looking forward to it all summer," said Grubauer, who played for the Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League from 2008-10. "It was pretty amazing to play here again."
Edward Pasquale, a Bulls goalie from 2006-08, went the distance and stopped 36 of 39 shots for the Jets. The only goal in the shootout came in the fourth round, when Capitals defenseman Mike Green scored on a wrist shot for the game-winner.
"They played well," Green said of the goaltenders. "It made for a good game. It was a lot of fun. We didn't know what to expect, and the city welcomed us with open arms. We had a lot of fun today. The people were excited for us to be here, especially the kids. They don't get to see a lot of NHL players come through here."
Evander Kane scored twice, and Scott Kosmachuk had a goal for Winnipeg, which was the designated home team. Jack Hillen, Stanislav Galiev and Troy Brouwer scored for Washington on a night the hockey-crazed fans of Stirling-Rawdon likely won't ever forget.
"It was fun," Kane said. "They've got the big ice surface out here. I didn't play in the OHL, but it was good. I enjoyed it. It's nice for the fans to see some NHL hockey when they don't maybe get that opportunity every day."
"I thought it was great," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "Huge for the League to try and do stuff like this, to give something back to the smaller towns and bring the big guys in there. It obviously doesn't get to happen. [We're] a long way from Air Canada Centre, but it's great for the fans to see Ovi. They got to see him in a shootout, a perfect setup."
Kane struck first 4:33 into the second period. Aiming to find chemistry with linemates Devin Setoguchi and Mark Scheifele, Kane, who was named first star of the game, beat a screened Holtby off a feed from Setoguchi.
"It was good to get our first game under our belts and read and react on how we all play," Kane said. "I thought me and [Devin] established some pretty good chemistry and [Scheifele] did a good job of just kind of distributing the puck. It's only one game and we'll try to build from here."
The Capitals received a scare 6:42 into the game when Ovechkin was down on the ice after a high stick to the face from Jets defenseman Ben Chiarot. Ovechkin lay in pain for about 30 seconds before heading to the dressing room, but he quickly returned. Chiarot received a four-minute penalty.
Oates said Ovechkin received a few stitches near his lip. Ovechkin did not speak with the media after the game, although he did tweet a picture of his face (@ovi8) and wrote, "Just had a plastic surgery)))hahahaah."
"It was a pretty scary one," Oates said.
Green said, "I was up the ice, so I didn't see it until I saw the replay. Geez, he got lucky. But Ovi always seems to come out of it like … he looks mangled, but he's always OK. I guess that's why they call him the Russian machine."
Winnipeg led 2-0 after a goal by Kosmachuk at 6:08. The third-round pick (No. 70) in 2012 took a pass from Nik Petan and beat Holtby on a wraparound.
Grubauer replaced Holtby with 9:47 remaining in the second period after the Capitals starter stopped 17 of 19 shots.
Washington tied the game with goals 1:25 apart later in the period. Hillen cut the deficit in half when his quick shot from the left point beat Pasquale at 13:07, before Galiev redirected Nate Schmidt's feed past Pasquale.
It was a frustrating 85 seconds in what was otherwise a tremendous performance by the Winnipeg goaltender.
"I thought Eddie Pasquale was our best player tonight," Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian said. "He made some real great saves back there for us."
Grubauer preserved the tie with 2:40 left in the second, when he stretched out his left pad to rob Kane's backhand attempt on a breakaway.
"Obviously for him, a bit of an extra [special] feeling," Oates said of his goaltender. "Playing here, I'm very happy for him that he got the win. I think the fans got it all … they got a shootout, they saw a little bit of everything tonight."
Kane scored his second 7:14 into the third period. Moments after Grubauer robbed Setoguchi with a dazzling stick save, Kane beat Grubauer with a wrister from the left circle to give the Jets a 3-2 lead.
Later, with Scheifele in the penalty box for tripping, the Capitals put on a pretty passing display that culminated with a power-play goal for Brouwer, who one-timed Marcus Johansson's feed from behind the net past Pasquale to make it 3-3.
The game went to a shootout following a scoreless overtime, and Grubauer again stood tall and received some help. Setoguchi drilled a shot off the post in the opening round, and Scheifele fired wide in Round 3, but Grubauer denied Kane in the second round and Petan in the fourth to set up Green's game-winner.
"It's always different if you come off the bench in the second half, but you're pro athletes and you've got to make sure you're ready for the game," Grubauer said. "It doesn't matter if you come in the last period, second period. Rebound-wise, I thought I was all right, but I still have to work on a couple of things. I'm looking forward to practice."
|Power Play %||26.8%||15.6%|
|% on Road||25.0%||18.2%|
|% at Home||27.9%||12.1%|