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POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 5, Cats 4 (OT)

Caps come up with another comeback win and break a 32-year-old team record in process, o-zone draw wins lead to three goals, much more

by Mike Vogel @VogsCaps / washingtoncaps.com

Got To Make A Comeback - For the fourth time in their dozen wins this season, the Caps rallied from a deficit of two or more goals to earn a victory in Thursday's game. Washington was down 3-1 in the second period and 4-3 in the third frame against Florida, but Tom Wilson tied the game in the first minute of the third period and won it for Washington in the early seconds of overtime.

Braden Holtby's stellar left pad save in a 1-on-1 situation with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad came seconds after puck drop in overtime, and it set the stage for Wilson's game-winner just 17 seconds into the extra session.

Late in the second period, Wilson limped off after blocking a Mike Hoffman point blast on a Florida power play, a play that occurred seconds before Florida's Evgenii Dadonov scored on the power play to lift the Cats to a 4-3 lead with just 61 seconds remaining in the middle period.

But Wilson gutted his way through the rest of the game, scoring 44 seconds into the third and 17 ticks into overtime.

"I can talk a lot about Tom Wilson, and tonight's game sums it up for me," says Caps coach Todd Reirden. "He lays down and blocks a shot at the end of the second. They end up scoring, and I'm not sure if he is going to be able to come back and play in the third.

"He comes back, and is physical right away in the beginning of the third, and ends up scoring the goal to get us tied up at the time, and then eventually scores the winner. That's how hockey should work; when you want to pay the price and you want to play the game the right way, then things seem to go your way. So I'm not surprised at all to see Tom get rewarded like that."

Washington is now 3-3 in overtime games this season, with Jakub Vrana, Alex Ovechkin and Wilson supplying the game-winners. The Caps have also won their only shootout of the season to date.

Video: Caps Postgame Locker Room | November 7

Drawerings - Three of Washington's five goals in Thursday's game came less than 10 seconds after the Caps won an offensive zone draw. That fact was not lost on either team's coach.

"We had a real good start to the game; we did some good things," says Panthers coach Joel Quenneville. "Face-off goals, I mean, they got three basically off of face-offs. I think there are some things we can do and clean that area up."

As for the Caps, they spent Wednesday's practice working on "cleaning that area up," and it paid big dividends on Thursday against Florida. John Carlson scored the game's first goal at the 25-second mark of the first period, just eight seconds after T.J. Oshie won a face-off in Florida ice.

Ovechkin's second goal of the game came midway through the second, a mere six seconds after Nicklas Backstrom won a draw in the Panthers' zone.

And finally, Wilson's game-tying tally early in the third came five seconds after Evgeny Kuznetsov won a face-off in Florida ice.

"That was [Wednesday]'s practice," says Caps coach Todd Reirden. "We particularly did a face-off drill [Wednesday] in practice that dealt with offensive zone wins that we knew could work against Florida, and we did some [defensive] zone wins because it cost us a goal the [game] before [against Calgary].

"Our players understand that when we don't execute things and don't take advantage of things in the game, then we practice them. And when you practice them, we reference them, we show practice video of it before today's game and we are able to convert on it so that's a pretty good feeling to watch that take place, and a lot of pride in the work that my staff puts in to put those things together to give our team a competitive advantage every night."

Video: Todd Reirden Postgame | November 7

Road Warrior - Ovechkin scored a pair of goals in Thursday's game, and he added an assist for his fourth multi-goal and sixth multi-point game of the season. He has scored 12 of his 13 goals on the road this season, and all four of his multi-goal games have been achieved on the road. Ovechkin leads the NHL in road goals; no other player in the league has scored more than seven goals on the road this season. The only player in the league with more road points than Ovechkin's total of 16 is teammate John Carlson, who has notched 17 points on the road.

Ovechkin now has 671 career goals, and has crossed the 75 percent threshold in terms of Wayne Gretzky's all-time NHL record of 894 career goals. With 136 career multi-goal games, Ovechkin has moved ahead of Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Gartner (135) for seventh place all-time in that category.

Move On Up - Carlson had another three-point game, with a goal and two assists against the Panthers. He now has 429 career points (98 goals, 331 assists), to push past Kevin Hatcher (426) for third on Washington's all-time list for points by a defenseman, and moving into a tie with Scott Stevens (429) for second on that list.

With his assist on Ovechkin's second goal, Backstrom notched his 886th career point, moving ahead of Hockey Hall of Famer Peter Forsberg for seventh place all-time among Swedish-born NHL players.

A Handful Of Fives - Thursday's win gives the Caps their first five-game winning streak of the season, and their 24th winning run of five or more games since 2009-10, the most for any NHL club during that stretch. The Caps had a four-game winning streak last month, and they've sandwiched that streak and their current run of five straight around the lone blemish on their record in the past 25 days, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Oilers in Edmonton on Oct. 24.

Washington's 9-0-1 mark in its last 10 games matches that of the New York Islanders in their last, as those two Metro Division teams own the best marks in the league over that span.

First Cut Is The Deepest - Four the fifth time in 17 games this season, the Caps yielded a goal against on the opposition's first shot on net in the game on Thursday. And for the fourth time in those five games, Washington ended up winning the game (4-1-0).

Early Thunder - A goal was scored within the first 45 seconds of each of the Washington-Florida game's three periods, and in overtime as well. League-wide on Thursday, five goals were scored in the opening minute of the NHL's 11-game slate, tied for the most in one day in league history (also achieved on Oct. 15, 1981, Jan. 1, 2000, and Feb. 24, 2018).

It Takes Two - When Ovechkin scored his second goal of the game at 12:14 of the second, it marked the seventh straight game in which at least one Washington skater has had a multi-goal game, breaking a franchise record that stood for more than 32 years.

The last NHL team to go as many as seven straight games with a multi-goal getter was the Boston Bruins nearly six years ago, from Dec. 12-27, 2013.

By The Numbers - Carlson led the Caps with 24:08 in ice time … Ovechkin led the Caps with eight shots on net and 15 shot attempts … Ovechkin now has 24 career goals in 33 games in the Florida barn … Radko Gudas led the Caps with four hits … Florida was not credited with a single hit in the second period, and it had a total of only seven in the game … Michal Kempny and Jonas Siegenthaler each blocked three shots to lead the Capitals … Chandler Stephenson won five of six face-offs (83 percent) … The Caps have scored at least one goal in the second period of all 17 of their games this season. Washington leads the NHL with 27 second-period goals, and it is outscoring foes 27-13 in the middle frame this season.

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