Loss to Washington worth watching
CAPITALS 5, AVALANCHE 3
One team — the Washington Capitals— came in with 50 wins, the most in the NHL.
The other — the Avalanche — came in with 52 losses, the most in the NHL.
Guess which one won? And, no, this isn’t a trick question.
Although it becomes tempting during horrible seasons to lump all losses together as rotten, unimpressive showings, this wasn’t one of those. The Avalanche actually looked as if it belonged on the same ice with the Capitals on Wednesday night while falling 5- 3 in one of the more entertaining hockey games at the Pepsi Center this season.
Mikko Rantanen, Matt Nieto and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, with MacKinnon’s bringing Colorado to within 4- 3 at 4: 29 of the third period. His 16th goal of the season came on a skate through Capitals defenders and then a terrific shot to beat Washington backup goalie Philipp Grubauer — the kind of play the Avalanche had hoped would come more often from the top overall choice in the 2013 draft.
John Carlson, Jay Beagle, Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the goals for the Capitals, who led 4- 1 before the Avalanche came back — but not all the way, despite putting on more pressure in the final minutes. Ultimately, Lars Eller added an empty- netter for the Capitals with 1: 22 left. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom skated through pointless nights for the Capitals.
The Avalanche next faces St. Louis at home Friday night, and there is a possibility that Tyson Jost — the North Dakota freshman center who signed with Colorado on Wednesday night— will be able to suit up and make his NHL debut.
Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov flips the puck over Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog in the second period ofWednesday night’s game at the Pepsi Center. David Zalubowski, The Associated Press