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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Ovechkin's three-point night leads the way as Washington cools off Flames

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

WASHINGTON -- The Calgary Flames got a first-hand look at the National Hockey League's top team.
 
Alexander Ovechkin had a goal and two assists and Braden Holtby made 29 saves as the Washington Capitals beat Calgary 4-2 at Verizon Center on Tuesday.
 
"I think right from the get-go, they just came at us," goaltender Brian Elliott said. "I think they had a lot of good chances. They carry the puck across the line and it seemed like we were getting stuff from the outside and not getting many opportunities - just shovels at the net and trying to create something in the o-zone. It's disappointing to lose.
 
"We'll get over it and on to the next one."

Sean Monahan and Troy Brouwer scored and Elliott made 36 saves for the Flames, who open a three-game road trip with just their second loss in the past 14 games (12-2-0) and fifth in the past 22 (17-4-1). The loss is Elliott's first in 12 games, and first since Feb. 18. Calgary remains in the first wild card entry into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference and one point back of each of the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers for second in the Pacific Division.

Video: CGY@WSH: Monahan picks the top corner with a wrister
 
Evgeni Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk also scored and Nicklas Backstrom had three assists for the Capitals, who lead the Metropolitan Division and are first in the NHL with 102 points. 


Washington broke open a tie game when Oshie scored at 15:51 of the second period on a redirected Ovechkin's pass and Shattenkirk scored on the power play with 2.9 seconds remaining in the period to put Washington up 3-1.
 
"We didn't have a great second," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "The 2-1 goal and then the 3-1 goal really hurt. We needed our penalty kill to be better tonight and it wasn't. They got two-for-three there and it was tough."
 
The goals were sandwiched around a glove save by Elliott on Ovechkin's point shot through a screen, one of 18 saves made by the Calgary goaltender in the period.

Video: CGY@WSH: Elliott kicks out his pad to rob Ovechkin
 
Brouwer pulled the Flames to within one at 15:04 of the third period when he deflected Deryk Engelland's cross-slot feed by Holtby.
 
"In the third, we started to go and then it got a little run and gun," Gulutzan said. "I thought they were tight. We got three chances in the second period, four or five in the first. They were playing pretty tight. We had four chances in the third. We had 11 chances. That's pretty tight-checking.
 
"It was exciting because it was fast, but we didn't get a lot of looks."

Video: CGY@WSH: Brouwer tucks in Engelland's no-look pass
 
Holtby made a blocker save on Mark Giordano's partial breakaway 10 seconds after Brouwer's goal and then Ovechkin zipped a shot from the faceoff dot over the glove of Elliott at 17:09 to push Washington's lead to 4-2.
 
"Myself, I had a really good chance to tie the game," Giordano said. "Those ones are tough when you didn't play your best but we had a look there. We've got to move on. We stuck with them. We had a good push right at the end of the game. 
 
"I thought they were the better team."
 
Kuznetsov scored 6:47 into the game to put Washington up 1-0. Andre Burakovsky stripped Johnny Gaudreau of the puck in the neutral zone before setting up Kuznetsov with a tap-in, but Gaudreau fed Monahan on a 2-on-1 before Monahan ripped a shot by Holtby's blocker to tie the game at 10:06.
 
NOTES: Elliott's run of 11 straight wins tied a Flames franchise record set by Mike Vernon from Jan. 17-Feb. 27, 1989. He named the NHL's Third Star Of The Week on Monday. TJ Brodie led the Flames with 24:12 of ice time. Defencemen Michael Stone and Matt Bartkowski and forwards Freddie Hamilton and Lance Bouma each had three hits. Forward Matthew Tkachuk served the first part of a two-game suspension for elbowing Los Angeles Kings defenceman Drew Doughty on Sunday. Defencemen Dennis Wideman and Rasmus Andersson and forward Garnet Hathaway were scratched for Calgary.
 
UP NEXT: The Flames continue with the second of a three-game road trip at the Nashville Predators on Wednesday (6 p.m. MT; SNF, SN960).
 
(with files from Ty Pilson)

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