Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 27th goal of the season, Tom Wilson scored in overtime and the Washington Capitals beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 Tuesday night.
Wilson’s goal 26 seconds into the 3-on-3 OT gave the Capitals their first victory in that situation this season. They lost their previous seven games decided after regulation but before a shootout.
Washington needed overtime after Pierre-Luc Dubois tied it with 1:05 left. Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of the 33 shots he faced, rebounding from allowing two goals in the opening minutes.
Ovechkin sparked the comeback after being visibly angry when the Capitals fell behind 2-0 less than three minutes in. He was livid after no penalty was called on Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey for hooking him and yelled at the officials from the bench after watching a replay.
Washington’s longtime captain scored on his next shift, firing a perfect shot past 2020 Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Connor Hellebuyck on a 2-on-1 rush. With the goal, Ovechkin broke a tie atop the NHL with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl.
Ovechkin’s 757th goal was also his 1,375th point, putting him ahead of Mike Modano for 24th on the career scoring list.
After Ovechkin started the rally late in the first period, countryman Dmitry Orlov tied it in the second and rookie Aliaksei Protas put the Capitals ahead in the third. Protas’ go-ahead goal with 15:45 left came on a wraparound when puck pinballed off former Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt and Hellebuyck and in.
Vanecek was stellar after the rough start that was more an indictment of the play in front of him than him in net. He stopped Andrew Copp on a breakaway later in the first period and made three saves on point-blank chances on a Capitals penalty kill late in the second with the score tied at 2.
Kyle Connor scored 62 seconds in on the power play, and Cole Perfetti followed not long after with his first NHL goal on a 2-on-1 rush. Connor and Perfetti scoring twice in the first 2:20 is the third-fastest two-goal start in Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise history.
No one has scored more against the Jets/Thrashers than Ovechkin, who now has 50 goals and 49 assists in 69 games against them. He became the second player in NHL history to score 50 or more goals against a franchise that debuted after 1979, joining Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne, who did so against the San Jose Sharks.
While the Capitals won for just the second time in six games, the Jets have lost four of five. Washington extended its home winning streak against Winnipeg to nine, dating to April 13, 2013 when the teams played in the Southeast Division.
NOTES: The Capitals were without top defenseman John Carlson and winger Conor Sheary (COVID-19 protocol) and forward T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury) for a second consecutive game. … Assistant coach Scott Arniel was not behind the bench after going into protocol. … Jets captain Blake Wheeler took part in the team’s morning skate and appears to be nearing a return. Wheeler has not played since Dec. 10 because of a lower-body injury.
Jets: Visit the Nashville Predators on Thursday.
Capitals: Visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
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