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game recap

Canucks score six against Capitals, earn fourth straight win

Baertschi scores two power-play goals, Vancouver goes 3-for-6 with man-advantage

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks broke out of a slump on the power play by going back to the basics against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

Sven Baertschi scored two power-play goals and assisted on another by Bo Horvat to lift Vancouver to its fourth straight win, 6-2 at Rogers Arena.

 

[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Canucks highlights]

 

The Canucks (6-3-1) came into the game ranked 29th in the NHL on the power play (10.0 percent), but they took advantage of a struggling Capitals penalty kill to go 3-for-6. Rookie Brock Boeser, who plays on a line with Baertschi and Horvat at even strength, had three assists on Vancouver's second power-play unit.

"We simplified it a bit," Baertschi said. "Just getting pucks on the net and then playing off the rebounds. I thought we were really effective that way. Sometimes it's easier to go simple."

After Thomas Vanek gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead at 12:53 of the first period, Horvat scored at 15:03 to make it 2-0 and end an 0-for-10 stretch for Vancouver with the man-advantage.

"It's nice to finally get rewarded on the power play," Horvat said. "I feel like it was just a matter of time. We've had tons of chances in past games. For it to start going in, it definitely gives our group a lot of confidence."

Video: WSH@VAN: Baertschi scores PPG for 100th NHL point

Anders Nilsson made 25 saves for the Canucks, who were coming off a 4-1-0 road trip.

Markus Granlund scored with 1:17 left in the first to give Vancouver a 3-0 lead, and Baertschi got his 100th NHL point when he deflected a Derrick Pouliot shot past goalie Braden Holtby on the power play at 9:41 of the second period to make it 4-0.

Derek Dorsett scored his Canucks-leading sixth goal on a wraparound with five minutes left in the second to make it 5-0 and chase Holtby, who made 17 saves on 22 shots.

"When you come off a long road trip, sometimes it's a letdown, but we stayed fresh," Dorsett said.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first goal of the season to make it 5-1 at 15:17 of the second.

The Capitals (4-5-1) have lost four of their past five games.

"We've got some work to do and I need to get better," Holtby said. "There's a lot of things we need to work on. Finding our identity is the main thing. We are still playing like our team from last year. We knew it wasn't going to come easy, it wasn't going to come quickly, but we are far enough into the season now that we are not going to use the excuse of being young and different anymore. It's time to start performing and that includes myself."

Video: WSH@VAN: Baertschi chips in second PPG

Baertschi tapped in the rebound of a Horvat shot on the power play at 10:29 of the third to make it 6-1. It was his fourth goal in three games after he failed to score in the first seven.

Chandler Stephenson, who replaced center Nicklas Backstrom (illness) in the Capitals lineup, scored his first NHL goal with 2:08 remaining to make it 6-2.

In addition to Backstrom, Washington began its three-game, Western Canada road trip without right wing Andre Burakovsky, who is out 6-8 weeks after surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured left thumb.

Capitals forward Brett Connolly left with an upper-body injury 3:19 into the second period following a hit by Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

"Went through the protocol, and we'll have a better update tomorrow," coach Barry Trotz said.

Washington's 29th-ranked penalty kill has given up at least one goal in seven of the past eight games.

"We can't kill anything," Trotz said. "It starts with failed clears."

Video: WSH@VAN: Dorsett tucks one home on wraparound

 

Goal of the game

Baertschi collected a rebound off Holtby's pads on the right side of the crease and threw a no-look, between-the-legs pass through the crease to Horvat for a tap-in.

Video: WSH@VAN: Horvat finishes Baertschi's dish for PPG

 

Save of the game

Devante Smith-Pelly collected a loose puck and got a sweeping spin shot off from the slot, but Nilsson kicked out the left pad with 9:17 left in the second period.

 

Highlight of the game

Vanek opened the scoring when he batted a loose puck out of the air as Holtby juggled the rebound of a Sam Gagner shot.

Video: WSH@VAN: Vanek knocks in opening goal out of midair

 

They said it

"Once you find your identity, you are going to have success. If you haven't found your identity, then you are going to sort of be floundering a little bit and we have, and I don't think we have defined our identity because we still want to play the way we did the last two years and we are not the same team." -- Capitals coach Barry Trotz

 

Video: WSH@VAN: Stephenson nets first goal from sharp angle

 

"We've said from Day One we want to be a four-line team. That's the only way we're going to have success. The guys have bought in. Give them credit." -- Canucks coach Travis Green after three of four lines scored

 

Need to know

Philipp Grubauer made seven saves in relief of Holtby. ... Vancouver ended a four-game losing streak against Washington.

 

What's next

Capitals: At the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN1, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)

Canucks: Host the Dallas Stars on Monday (10 p.m. ET; SNP, FS-SW+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Baertschi, Boeser lead Canucks past Capitals

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