Washington, DC, United States (4E Sports) – Rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov issued three assists while Mike Green scored the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, Friday at Verizon Center.
Alex Ovechkin ended a four-game pointless drought with a goal, Joel Ward and Tom Wilson also scored while Jaroslav Halak recorded 38 saves as the Capitals notched only their second win in past seven games.
With the win, the Capitals (31-27-10) drew within one point of the idle Philadelphia Flyers for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Jordan Schroeder, Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen scored while Eddie Lack had 17 saves for the Canucks (30-29-10), who are winless in 13 of their past 16 games.
Ward gave the Capitals their first 1-0 lead since March 2 at 8:17. Eric Fehr’s wrist shot went wide but caromed off the end boards right back to him. He chipped the puck toward Ward, who stuffed it in for his 19th goal of the season.
Washington killed off its first penalty of the game shortly after Ward’s goal, but 35 seconds after Vancouver returned to even strength, Jordan Schroeder tied the game.
Seeing an opening, Schroeder rolled into the slot, received a backhand pass from forward Zack Kassian, and snapped his third goal of the season over Capitals goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s catching glove at 11:41.
Ovechkin restored the Capitals’ lead at 8:28 of the second period, ripping a one-timer on the power play from his customary position inside the left circle past Lack for his 45th of the season and 19th on the power play.
Kuznetsov, who had the secondary assist on Ovechkin’s goal, picked up his second assist of the game at 12:35, threading an impressive cross-ice slap pass to a charging Tom Wilson, who roofed it for his third goal of the season.
Trailing 3-1 early in the third period, Shawn Matthias scored at 4:28, his first goal with Vancouver after being acquired from the Florida Panthers last week. Nicklas Jensen scored his first NHL goal 3:06 later to tie the game.
Green then scored the game-winner with 9:41 remaining.