DETROIT – Alex Ovechkin had two goals in the third period, including the go-ahead score with 2:51 remaining, and the Washington Capitals topped the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 on Friday night.
The game-winner was his 275th career power play goal, a new NHL record. He had tied with Dave Andreychuk on Dec. 15 against Chicago.
“It’s a great moment for me, for the team, for the fans, for the game as well,” Ovechkin said.
Ovechkin gave Washington the lead with 2:51 left. He ripped a slap shot from the right point to beat Detroit goaltender Thomas Greiss. He added an empty netter in the final minute for his 24th goal this season.
“When you’re sitting on the brink for a long time -- one game, two games, three games -- I’m sure you’re anxious just to get it done,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s not like it wasn’t going to happen but it’s nice just to get it done and move forward from it. It’s quite an accomplishment. The league has been around for a long time, a lot of great players. To be part of that history is something special.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist for the Capitals while Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves.
Pius Suter scored for Detroit and Greiss stopped 24 shots.
The Red Wings played for the first time since Dec. 18. They had four games postponed due to a COVID outbreak among the team and some of their opponents.
“I thought we played well enough to win the game - we certainly put ourselves in position to win it,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s disappointing to lose it, especially as well as we had killed penalties all night and then they get one right at the end of a power play.”
Detroit had an 11-5 shots on goal advantage in the first period but neither side scored.
Detroit scored the first goal early in the second period when Sam Gagner backhanded a pass from behind the Caps’ net and Suter fired it past Samsonov for his sixth goal this season.
Defenseman Lucas Johansen, who was making his NHL debut, assisted on Kuznetsov’s 11th goal with 4:07 left in the period.
“It wasn’t a great pass to be honest,” Johansen said. “Kuznetsov is obviously pretty skilled, so if you put it near him he’s going to make something happen. Next time I’ll try to hit him on the tape.”
The Wings were happy to get back on the ice but not with the outcome.
“I think it was a matter of getting our legs and timing back after having so much time off and really only having one practice as a team in the last two weeks,” defenseman Marc Staal said. “But a lot of teams are in the same boat. We executed pretty well and we gave ourselves a chance - we just have to start winning some of these games.”
Defenseman Nick Leddy is the only Red Wings player remaining in COVID protocol. Washington still has six players in protocol -- Daniel Sprong, Justin Schultz, Nick Jensen, Vitek Vanecek, Dennis Cholowski and Martin Fehervary … Defenseman Lucas Johansen, who was called up from Hershey of the American Hockey League this week and assigned to the Capitals’ taxi squad, became the eighth Washington player to make his NHL debut this season. … Samsonov's only other career start against Detroit came on Nov. 30, 2019, a 5-2 Washington victory. … The Red Wings' Lucas Raymond leads all NHL rookies with 28 points. ... Washington won the season series 2-1.
Capitals: Host New Jersey Devils on Sunday.
Red Wings: Host Boston Bruins on Sunday.