The Washington Capitals practically reversed their previous game’s performance Saturday night in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights scored twice in the first ten minutes and carried the momentum to claim a 6-2 win over Washington. Alex Ovechkin was a game-time decision and did not play.
The Capitals didn’t take their third shot on goal until there were eight and a half minutes left in the first period. By that point, they were already down 2-0. Washington recorded nearly twice as many hits (40) as shots on goal (22) in the whole game.
Alec Martinez got his first goal of the year to start the scoring just over two minutes into play. A shot by Chandler Stephenson from the right side hit the post and bounced to Martinez, who tapped the puck into the open net before Darcy Kuemper could get back into position. Five minutes later, a two-on-one rush led to a goal by Nicolas Roy. The Golden Knights were credited with five takeaways in the period.
Vegas added three goals in the second period to end Kuemper’s night early. Michael Amadio scored from the middle of the ice, assisted by Chandler Stephenson at nearly the same time Martinez had scored in the first period. Ten minutes later, a shot from Byron Froese hit the right goalpost and bounced off the back of Kuemper’s leg into the net. Coach Peter Laviolette put Charlie Lindgren in before the next faceoff. Kuemper had allowed four goals on 18 shots.
Lindgren did not save the first shot he faced. The Golden Knights forced a turnover on their left wing that Paul Cotter claimed in the slot. He pulled the puck to the backhand to expose Lindgren’s five-hole and gave Vegas its most significant lead of the night.
The Capitals got on the board in the last two minutes of the second period. T.J. Oshie got his stick on the ice to redirect a slap pass from Erik Gustafsson past Logan Thompson. Oshie is the sixth Washington player to reach ten goals this season. It was also Gustafsson’s 20th assist, his highest helper total since 2019-20.
Cotter scored his second of the game after the Golden Knights forced a turnover below the goal line only four minutes into the last period. Marcus Johansson scored on another redirect with just under ten minutes remaining in the game. Roy assisted on both his tallies to lead the winners with three points. No Washington player recorded more than one point.
Anthony Mantha played for the first time since January 16th in place of Ovechkin, who is out day-to-day with a lower-body injury. It is the first time Ovechkin has missed a game this season. Mantha skated on Ovechkin’s line to start the game, though the line combinations had mixed by the final horn.
The Capitals will have an extra day of rest before their next game. Washington will play in Colorado on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The Avalanche most recently played the Seattle Kraken to a 2-1 shootout win.