Skip to main content
game recap

Marcus Johansson lifts Capitals past Canucks

Scores two goals, has assist to help Washington end skid

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz changed all four of his lines after consecutive losses, and it paid off Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Marcus Johansson scored twice and assisted on Tom Wilson's goal to help the Capitals to a 5-2 win at Rogers Arena.

"We've got good leadership, it shows all the time, and I think they recognized what the message was (behind changing the lines) and I thought we played really well," Trotz said.

T.J. Oshie scored to make it 4-2 with 2:27 left, and defenseman Karl Alzner scored into an empty net 1:09 later.

Video: WSH@VAN: Oshie whistles a one-timer past Markstrom

Philipp Grubauer made 23 saves for the Capitals (4-2-1), who avoided losing three straight games in regulation for the first time since Feb. 22-27, 2015.

"There really wasn't a line I didn't care for," Trotz said. "All our lines had important elements that allowed us to play a really dangerous game."

The new second line, with center Evgeny Kuznetsov dropping down to play between Johansson and Wilson, had the biggest impact, scoring two goals in 15 seconds late in the first period.

Johansson scored on a deflection with 2:03 left, and then got an assist on Wilson's first goal of the season for a 2-0 lead with 1:48 remaining in the first. Kuznetsov had the primary assist.

"[Kuznetsov] is a creative player, and I think he makes whoever he is playing with better," said Wilson, who was promoted from the fourth line. "The line clicked."

Video: WSH@VAN: Johansson's redirected tap finds the twine

Jannik Hansen and Bo Horvat scored for Vancouver (4-4-1), and Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves. The Canucks, who were shut out for the second consecutive game in a 2-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday, are 0-4-1 since starting the season with four consecutive wins.

"To get a couple of goals at least should give us a little bit of confidence. At the same time, we didn't play as well as we should have," Horvat said. "Losing five in a row [stinks]."

Hansen, moved up to the top line with Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, scored on a rebound with 5.6 seconds left in the first to make it 2-1 and end the Canucks' goal drought at 155:35.

Johansson made it 3-1 on the power play 8:58 into the second period. It was the third goal this season for a Capitals power play that is 23rd in the NHL (14.3 percent).

Grubauer made a couple big saves while killing off all three Canucks power plays.

"That's huge for us," Johansson said. "Special teams haven't been great for us so far."

Video: WSH@VAN: Johansson nets PPG for second goal of game

 

Goal of the game

Kuznetsov made a great backhand pass from behind the net out to the high slot for Wilson for a quick wrist shot over Markstrom's blocker to give the Capitals a two-goal lead late in the first period.

Video: WSH@VAN: Wilson fires a shot past Markstrom

 

Save of the game

Sven Baertschi got a lot on a one-timer on a 2-on-1 with 8:29 left in the first period, but Grubauer pushed hard to his left and got a glove on the high shot while sliding across.

 

Unsung moment of the game

Washington center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal disallowed 3:56 into the second period after Vancouver coach Willie Desjardins successfully challenged it for goaltender interference. The puck trickled in after a Justin Williams shot hit Backstrom, who bumped Markstrom while falling to the ice. "I know there was contact, but we felt Markstrom knocked it in himself," Trotz said.

 

Highlight of the game

The Canucks had a great chance to tie the game on a third-period power play, but after a centering pass to Brandon Sutter in the slot, Grubauer shifted over to squeeze Sutter's one-timer under his arm at 8:37. "He made the key saves at the big moment," Trotz said.

 

They said it

"It was Capitals hockey. You could tell the urgency, you could tell we came out and we were skating. When our team is playing like that, give them credit for staying in the game because we can be a dangerous hockey team in this room." -- Capitals forward Tom Wilson

 

"We can't trade goals. It's impossible. We want to play good defensively. We know we can score enough goals to win, (but) we can't give up five goals and win games. That's impossible." -- Canucks captain Henrik Sedin

 

Video: WSH@VAN: Horvat buries a rebound past Grubauer

 

Need to know

Horvat's goal was his fourth this season. He didn't score his fourth last season until Jan. 6. … Capitals goalie Braden Holtby will start against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the Calgary Flames on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; SNF, CSN-DC+, NHL.TV)

Canucks: At the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Johansson leads Caps to 5-2 win against the Canucks

View More