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game recap

Capitals defeat Canucks for fifth straight win

Grubauer makes 36 saves in Washington's 10th consecutive home victory

by Brian McNally / Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- John Carlson and Lars Eller scored 2:39 apart in the first period, and Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves for the Washington Capitals in a 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Capital One Arena on Tuesday.

The Capitals (27-13-3) won their season-best fifth consecutive game and 10th in a row at home, the longest streak in the NHL this season. They are 17-2-0 at home since Nov. 2.

"Definitely, this stretch has been our best of the year," Eller said. "Has this game been our best of the year? I don't know, but it's definitely up there."


[WATCH: All Canucks vs. Capitals highlights]


After Daniel Sedin gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead when he scored on a 5-on-3 power play at 8:23 of the first period, Carlson and Eller scored to put the Capitals up 2-1.

Vancouver (16-21-6) has lost a season-high five straight games (0-4-1) and is 2-11-2 since Dec. 7. Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves.

"It's probably the toughest stretch I've been through in my career," said defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who is in his ninth NHL season. "It's a humbling league sometimes, it's a tough league. You're not going to win every night. We've talked about it for a while. We've had some key injuries. It's no excuse. We've left some points on the table."

Carlson tied the game 1-1 at 15:13 with a shot from the top of the right face-off circle. Canucks coach Travis Green challenged for goaltender interference by Nicklas Backstrom, but the goal was upheld after video review.

Video: VAN@WSH: Carlson ties game with strong slap shot

Eller scored to make it 2-1 at 17:52. He took a pass from rookie defenseman Madison Bowey, made a quick move to gain room entering the Canucks zone, and beat Markstrom from the high slot.

Washington outshot Vancouver 18-4 in the second period, when the Canucks struggled to move the puck out of their own end.

Evgeny Kuznetsov made it 3-1 at 4:56. His shot off Markstrom's chest went into the air and was batted in by Vancouver defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

Video: VAN@WSH: Kuznetsov scores goal off defender's glove

Kuznetsov could have put the game out of reach at 11:23 of the second. He took a pass from Carlson and skated between defensemen Troy Stecher and Alexander Edler above the circles in the Canucks zone, but Markstrom made the left-pad save on his one-handed backhand.

"The game should have been over in the second," Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. "We were so bad it's not even funny. If [Markstrom] wouldn't have been there, it wouldn't have been a game. He gave us a chance to at least play in the third."

Grubauer made 20 saves in the third period. He has made a save on 74 of 75 shots his past two games after he had a shutout in a 1-0 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 27.

"It's a little bit challenging because you've got to stay mentally more into the game," Grubauer said. "If you have a lot of shots, you go with it. If you don't get that, you've just got to stay prepared. It's the same thing for not playing in a long time. But I was saving my energy for the last one there. We kept it really simple and got the win."


Goal of the game

Eller's goal at 17:52 of the first period.

Video: VAN@WSH: Eller roofs goal to tally 200th NHL point


Save of the game

Grubauer stopping Sven Baertschi at 15:28 of the third period.

Video: VAN@WSH: Grubauer flashes the leather on Baertschi


Highlight of the game

Markstrom's save on Kuznetsov at 11:23 of the second period.

Video: VAN@WSH: Markstrom robs Kuznetsov with nice pad save


They said it

"We've got to find a way here. I don't care. We're not playing good enough for 60 minutes. That's what kills us. You can always say, 'Yeah, it's fluky goals that we get scored on.' But overall we didn't deserve to win." -- Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom


"I always love when goalies try to score. Even if they're going to catch the puck and score on our net, I will trade that any day. The goalies can shoot and score. That's probably best you can get for goalies. Best memories." -- Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on urging goalie Philipp Grubauer to shoot with a 3-1 lead and the Canucks net empty


Need to know

Carlson has two goals and five assists in his past five games. ... It is Vancouver's longest losing streak since it lost the final eight games of the 2016-17 season. ... Linesman Greg Devorski left the game after the first period because of an illness.


What's next

Canucks: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, FS-O, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, FS-SE, NHL.TV)


Video: Grubauer leads Capitals to 10th straight home win

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