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game recap

Capitals recover, top Avalanche in OT

Kuznetsov scores second of game with 48 seconds left; Colorado has lost 15 of past 18

by Harvey Valentine / NHL.com Correspondent

Kuznetsov's breakaway goal in OT

COL@WSH: Kuznetsov goes five-hole for overtime winner

Evgeny Kuznetsov beats Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway in overtime to lift the Capitals to a 4-3 win

  • 01:27 •

WASHINGTON -- Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second goal of the game with 48 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Capital One Arena on Thursday.

Kuznetsov, who also had an assist, took a lead pass from Alex Ovechkin and skated in on a breakaway before beating Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov five-hole. 

 

[WATCH: All Avalanche vs. Capitals highlights]

 

"When you have a breakaway, you always feel extra juice," said Kuznetsov, who played 2:37 of overtime. "I think every player will say the same, if you play in the defensive zone, you feel tired, but if you have a chance to go for a breakaway, somehow you get some extra juice for sure."

Matt Niskanen had a goal and an assist, Ovechkin had two assists and Andre Burakovsky scored for Washington (30-18-6), which has won three of its past four games after losing seven straight (0-5-2). Pheonix Copley made 34 saves.

Video: COL@WSH: Burakovsky tips home Oshie's nice feed

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Colin Wilson scored, and Gabriel Landeskog had two assists for Colorado (22-22-9), which has lost five straight and 15 of its past 18 (3-12-3). Varlamov made 38 saves.

"We were doing some good things and then we get kind of tangled up in the corner and lose a puck at the end of it," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "So it's definitely a big point to get. It's also a big point to lose, but it's definitely something to build on, I think. It should give our team a little confidence."

Rantanen cut it to 3-2 at 5:10 of the third period on a shot from the slot, and Wilson tied it 3-3 with 2:07 remaining when his shot from a sharp angle deflected in off Copley's stick.

"It's a big point," Landeskog said. "But at this point, we're looking for wins, not points."

Video: COL@WSH: Copley flashes the leather to deny MacKinnon

Burakovsky gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead on a redirection in the crease off a centering pass from T.J. Oshie at 6:31 of the first period. Oshie has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past seven games.

Nicklas Backstrom appeared to give Washington a 2-1 lead on a power play at 14:51, but a review initiated by the referee determined he had blown his whistle before the puck crossed the goal line.

MacKinnon scored 35 seconds into the second period to tie it 1-1. Tyson Barrie's shot went wide left off the end boards and MacKinnon banked the puck in off Copley. Capitals coach Todd Reirden challenged the play for offside, but the call was upheld after a video review.

Kuznetsov made it 2-1 on a power play at 8:38 when he knocked in the puck after Ovechkin's shot trickled past Varlamov. Kuznetsov has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past six games.

"His speed seems re-energized, refocused, and he's been a major factor in these games," Reirden said. "When he's playing like that, he's a huge asset to our team. You see the success we can have."

Niskanen scored 34 seconds into the third period to extend the lead to 3-1 on a shot from the right circle.

Video: EA Sports Overtime Winners: Canes, Panthers, Capitals

 

They said it 

"You're going to have losing streaks and winning streaks, but now it's really tough. We can play a good game, but there's always one mistake that costs us like again tonight, a breakaway." -- Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen

 

"There was more than one [thing] tonight that didn't go our way. But we stayed with our game plan. Frustration was at a very low level on our bench. And that's what top teams do, is you find ways to get points when things aren't going our way." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

 

Need to know

Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole received a major penalty for interference on Kuznetsov and a game misconduct at 11:18 of the third period. … Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer, who spent his first six NHL seasons in Washington, received a video tribute and standing ovation during a stoppage in the first period. … Ovechkin has eight points (four goals, four assists) in his past five games. … Capitals forward Brett Connolly played in his 400th NHL game and Burakovsky played in his 300th. … MacKinnon has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) in his past 17 games.

 

What's next

Avalanche: At the New York Islanders on Saturday (Barclays Center; 1 p.m. ET; MSG+, ALT, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSWA, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Video: Kuznetsov's OT winner propels Capitals past Avalanche

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