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game recap

Ovechkin gets hat trick, shootout goal in Capitals win against Senators

Kuznetsov has three assists, Holtby makes 28 saves in opener

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick and Evgeny Kuznetsov had three assists in a 5-4 shootout win against the Ottawa Senators in the season opener at Canadian Tire Centre on Thursday.

Ovechkin and Kuznetsov each scored in the shootout. Brett Connolly also had a goal, and Braden Holtby made 28 saves for the Capitals.


[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Senators highlights]


Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists, and Mark Stone scored two goals for the Senators. Bobby Ryan scored in the shootout and Craig Anderson made 24 saves.

"It's nice to get a [hat trick], but the most important thing, mentally, we need the win and we got it," said Ovechkin, who scored his 18th NHL hat trick. "I think our line felt the puck well tonight. We were moving it and had good communication and the result was there."

Video: WSH@OTT: Ovechkin records hat trick in season opener

Rookie forward Jakub Vrana, 21, who was the No. 13 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, had two assists while skating on a line with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov.

"I could see them talking and (Kuznetsov) and (Ovechkin) they sort of just said we've got to do something here and the young guy (Vrana) was good, too," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "They gave us a little momentum. We needed someone to pick us up and that line picked us up."

Ovechkin scored all three goals in a span of 6:33 in the third period to help the Capitals rally after going down 3-1 and 4-3.

"It's always nice when you have the chemistry like we have," Kuznetsov said. "We understand each other. We were talking to each other. The first period wasn't great, but we stayed positive. I like the way we talk on the ice. Sometimes you don't see your partner, but you hear him. That always helps you. That's why we scored a couple of goals, because we talked before.

"Try to hold the puck, just don't shoot, don't waste a shot. We were just trying to play with the puck."

Video: WSH@OTT: Kuznetsov seals it in the shootout for Caps

The Senators played without captain Erik Karlsson, who had surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot on June 14.

A good effort from the Ryan-Brassard-Stone line, which had seven points (three goals, four assists), couldn't overcome Ovechkin's scoring in the third period.

"Good start for us, but we need to find ways to hold the lead," Stone said. "We can't give up chance after chance to star players like Ovechkin. It was a game plan of ours to key on him, and we didn't do a good enough job.

"Points are important. You get one, that's an important point. From here, we've just got to regroup. We like the way we played, it's just we get up a little too much in the [offensive zone] to a special type [of] player."


Goal of the game

Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Vrana used their chemistry to work a nice three-way passing play to tie the game 3-3 at 5:38 of the third period.

Video: WSH@OTT: Ovechkin nets one-timer for his second goal


Save of the game

Holtby got his left arm on a hard shot from the slot by Brassard with the Senators on the power play in overtime.


Highlight of the game

Ovechkin completed his hat trick with a strong power move at 10:48 of the third, pushing Senators forward Nate Thompson off the puck and scoring with a hard shot.

Video: WSH@OTT: Ovechkin snipes his third goal of the game


They said it

"One good game doesn't make a next good game. You have to stay consistent. I made some mistakes today and I'm going to learn from that. I did good things, too. I'm just going to stay consistent for next game and just continue." -- Capitals rookie forward Jakub Vrana


"In the end, it's three turnovers that cost us the game. Three last goals, we've got the puck and we basically give it back to them. They took advantage of it. Obviously when you've got a guy like Ovechkin on the other side is the one taking advantage of it, it's bound to hurt you." -- Senators coach Guy Boucher


Need to know

Ovechkin (561 NHL goals) tied Mike Modano for 24th place on the all-time list. The left wing passed former Montreal Canadiens forward Guy Lafleur (560). … Senators defenseman Johnny Oduya left the game with a lower-body injury.


What's next

Capitals: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, TVA Sports, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Senators: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, FS-D, NHL.TV)


Video: Ovechkin's hat trick leads Caps to shootout victory

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