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game recap

Capitals use big lead to defeat Senators

Ovechkin scores; Kuznetsov has three points

by Brian McNally / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Jakub Vrana scored two goals, and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists for the Washington Capitals in a 5-2 win against the Ottawa Senators at Capital One Arena on Wednesday.

It was Vrana's first two-goal game for the Capitals (12-10-1), who won for the sixth time in their past seven home games.

 

[WATCH: All Senators vs. Capitals highlights]

 

Vrana was a healthy scratch Nov. 16 against the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's hard work," Vrana said. "You've just got to keep working hard and doing extra things. You do it until it pays off."

Braden Holtby made 29 saves. Kuznetsov scored a power-play goal for the third time in four games, making it 3-0 at 7:41 of the second period.

Video: OTT@WSH: Kuznetsov buries slick wrister for PPG

Ottawa (8-6-6) has lost four straight. Craig Anderson made 20 saves, Ryan Dzingel scored a power-play goal at 16:37 of the second period to make it 4-1, and Mike Hoffman scored with 7:14 left in the third to make it 4-2.

Since returning from two wins against the Colorado Avalanche in the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series in Sweden on Nov. 10 and 11, Ottawa has been outscored 14-5 going 0-3-1.

"There's only one way out of this," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "We lost four games in a row last year too. It was in the middle of the season, but whenever it is -- the beginning, middle or the end -- you've got to fight your way back. I strongly believe that our leaders care and are prepared to fight back."

Washington took a 2-0 lead with five seconds left in the first period. Alex Ovechkin, reunited on a line with Nicklas Backstrom, ended a six-game goal drought when he beat Anderson on a breakaway.

Backstrom had an assist; he had no goals and four assists in his previous 14 games.

"We understand each other, how we have to play," Ovechkin said. "Obviously, we played [together] a long time. I think it worked out perfectly today. I think [Kuznetsov's] line was good and then ours was good."

Vrana gave Washington a 1-0 lead at 15:21 of the first period.

Video: OTT@WSH: Vrana sweeps home rebound to open scoring

Vrana's second goal took seven seconds to register with anyone on the ice. His shot past Anderson from the left face-off circle at 9:55 of the second period lodged in the netting underneath the water bottle inside the net. Referee Brad Meier finally noticed the puck and ruled it a goal to make it 4-0.

"Nobody [stood] up in the crowd, so I didn't know," Vrana said. "And then I just saw [Kuznetsov] was pointing at a ref that it's goal, so I was like, OK, sure."

Alex Chiasson scored an empty-net goal with 1:31 left to make it 5-2.

Ottawa had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:16 late in the second period but generated one shot.

"Sometimes everything goes great on the power play and you're not really asking yourself any question," Senators forward Derick Brassard said. "But now maybe it's in the back of our head. … We're thinking too much."

 

Goal of the game

Ovechkin's goal at 19:55 of the first period.  

Video: OTT@WSH: Ovechkin goes bar down on speedy rush

 

Save of the game

Holtby's save on Bobby Ryan at 11:36 of the first period.

Video: OTT@WSH: Holtby quickly kicks away Duchene, Ryan

 

Highlight of the game

Vrana's goal at 9:55 of the second period. 

Video: OTT@WSH: Vrana sneaks puck home for his second goal

 

They said it

"There was nothing that was his fault, and, to be honest with you, right now because it's a tough patch for us, my thing was we're going to fight this together. And that's with our No. 1 goalie. I didn't want to have a scapegoat." -- Senators coach Guy Boucher on deciding not to pull goalie Craig Anderson after the fourth goal

 

"We were talking about putting [Backstrom and Ovechkin] together. The line that is used is, 'If you love something, you set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be.' One of the guys gave me that one." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

 

Need to know

Kuznetsov leads the Capitals with 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) following his third three-point game of the season. … The Senators power play is 2-for-24 in its past seven games with the two goals in one game.

 

What's next

Senators: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

Capitals: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday (5 p.m. ET; NHLN, NBCSWA, SUN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Vrana, Capitals take down Senators, 5-2

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