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game recap

Ovechkin's four points help Capitals top sliding Red Wings

Has hat trick, assist, Washington gets third straight victory; Detroit winless streak at nine

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Ovechkin earns 24th NHL hat trick

WSH@DET: Ovechkin earns 24th NHL hat trick in 5-2 win

Alex Ovechkin scores from the bottom of the circle, then nets two empty-net goals to record his 24th career NHL hat trick

  • 02:21 •

DETROIT -- Alex Ovechkin had three goals and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday.

The hat trick was the 24th of Ovechkin's NHL career, moving him past Jari Kurri for 10th in League history. Two of the goals were scored into an empty net, but he said that didn't bother him.

"A hat trick is a hat trick," Ovechkin said. "It doesn't matter how you get them."

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Red Wings highlights]

 

The three goals also made Ovechkin the fifth player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 15 seasons, joining Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner, Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin.

"He's earned the chance to be on the ice when we are protecting a lead," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "Obviously, if he sees a scoring chance, he knows what to do."

Video: WSH@DET: Oshie buries one-timer from slot for PPG

T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist, and Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists for Washington (19-4-5), which won its third game in a row. Ilya Samsonov, starting for the first time since Nov. 15, made 25 saves.

Robby Fabbri and Luke Glendening scored, and Jonathan Bernier made 29 saves for Detroit (7-19-3), which is winless in its past nine (0-7-2). 

"I thought it was a solid game from us, especially after [losing 6-1 at the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday]," Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said. "We have to score goals. You can't wait until the last minute."

The Red Wings have been outscored 24-4 in their past five games.

"It's already snowballed a bit -- obviously we've had a long stretch here without winning a hockey game -- but we have to focus of the reality of how we have played," Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "You have to fight through the emotions and tell them what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong." 

The Red Wings took a 1-0 lead on Fabbri's power-play goal at 11:47 of the first period. It was Detroit's first goal with the man-advantage in nine games; the Red Wings hadn't scored on their previous 19 power plays before Fabbri's goal. 

Oshie tied it 1-1 at 2:19 of the second period with a power-play goal off Jakub Vrana's pass.

Ovechkin made it 2-1 at 9:21, circling the Red Wings net before beating Bernier from a sharp angle.

"I got lucky on that one, because I should have gone to my backhand," Ovechkin said. "Once I went behind the net, I just wanted to get to the other side and get a shot off. Luckily, it hit [Bernier] and went in."

Tom Wilson made it 3-1 at 14:23 of the third period, taking a pass from Ovechkin and putting a backhand between Bernier's pads, but Glendening pulled Detroit within 3-2 nine seconds later at 14:32.

"We felt a goal coming even before Wilson scored, and it was huge to go right out and get one on the next shift," Larkin said. "But we have to be able to follow that up for the rest of the game."

Ovechkin scored into an empty net to extend the lead to 4-2 at 18:25, then completed the hat trick with another empty-net goal with 55 seconds remaining for the 5-2 final.

"This was one of those games where we just wanted to be patient, bottle things up and try to score when we got chances," Kuznetsov said. "Maybe it wasn't our best game, but those two points are huge."

Video: Ovechkin gets a hat trick against the Red Wings

 

They said it

"These can be dangerous games, because we know every team in this league is solid. They are going through a tough time right now, but they were playing desperate hockey, and we had to be aware of that. The two points we got tonight count the same as the two points we get against any other team." -- Capitals forward Tom Wilson

"I was really happy with [Samsonov's] game because it isn't easy to go out there when you haven't played for a couple weeks." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden

"The power play just isn't good enough, and that's all on us. We have to go out there as a five-man unit and work together to get the puck on each other's sticks to create chances. We just didn't want the puck enough, which means too many turnovers and too much time chasing the puck back into our own end." -- Red Wings center Dylan Larkin

 

Need to know

Washington, 12-2-2 in its past 16 games, leads the NHL with 43 points, two more than the Boston Bruins. … Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen played his first game against the Red Wings. He played his first 190 NHL games for them from 2016-19. ... Washington was also playing the second of back-to-back games, having defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in overtime Friday. … Larkin's assist on Fabbri goal was his first point in eight games.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSWA, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: Host the New York Islanders on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, MSG+2, NHL.TV)

Video: Ovechkin's hat trick propels Capitals past Red Wings

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