Schmidt’s two late goals carry Knights past Caps
Nate Schmidt scored his first two goals of the season, including the game-winner on a power play with 1:25 remaining, and the Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Washington Capitals 5-3 on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.
Schmidt fired a wrist shot from the top of the slot past the glove hand of Washington goalie Braden Holtby to break a 3-3 tie, then added an empty-net goal with 6.9 seconds left to seal the victory.
It was the first meeting between the teams at T-Mobile Arena since Washington clinched its first Stanley Cup with a 4-3 victory in Game 5 on June 7. The teams had met in D.C. on October 10 when Washington scored a 5-2 victory.
Cody Eakin had a goal and an assist and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Ryan Reaves also scored goals for Vegas, which won for the sixth time in seven games. Oscar Lindberg finished with two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves to pick up his 15th win of the season.
Jakub Vrana scored two goals and Alex Ovechkin and also scored for Washington, which had a four-game road winning streak snapped. Brett Connolly added two assists, and Holtby finished with 23 saves.
Ovechkin became the sixth player in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 14 seasons in the league. The record is
17, held by Marcel Dionne, Mats Sundin and Jaromir Jagr. Mike Gartner (15) and Michel Goulet (14) also accomplished the feat.
Reaves gave the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead just 2:30 into the game with a power-play goal. He fired a pass from Eakin from the front of the goalmouth into the upper right corner of the net for his sixth goal of the season, just one off his career high.
Washington tied it 13 minutes later on Vrana’s first goal of the night. The tally snapped a home shutout streak of 158:21 by Fleury, who had blanked Calgary and San Jose in his two previous home starts.
Ovechkin made it 2-1 midway through the second period. Connolly’s blast from the right point ricocheted off the boards behind the net right to Ovechkin standing alone by the left side of the net, where he backhanded a shot past Fleury.
The Golden Knights scored two goals just 16 seconds apart early in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. Bellemare scored the first on a deflection of a Brayden McNabb shot from the left point. Eakin followed with a rebound of a Lindberg shot for his team-leading 11th goal of the season and his 200th career point.
Vrana tied it 3-3 with his second goal of the game and eighth of the season, slapping a shot from the top of the slot past Fleury at 11:40. Nic Dowd then picked up a double minor penalty for high-sticking McNabb and drawing blood at 14:46, setting the stage for Schmidt’s game-winner.
Meanwhile Roberto Luongo returned from the injured list and earned a shutout, and Mike Hoffman scored two goals as the host Florida Panthers routed the Boston Bruins 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Florida winger Jonathan Huberdeau extended his streak to six straight multi-point games. He had one goal and two assists on Tuesday and has three goals and 11 assists during his streak. He can tie Pavel Bure’s franchise record with a multi-point game in his next outing. Mike Matheson and Evgenii Dadonov had Florida’s other goals. Aleksander Barkov had three assists, and Keith Yandle had two. This was Luongo’s first game since Nov 23, but he looked sharp, making 33 saves. He missed the previous five games with his second lower-body injury of the season. He played just nine of Florida’s first 25 games due to injuries, and the Panthers lost his past four starts before everything changed against the Bruins.
Vegas Golden Knights’ Nate Schmidt skates on the ice after being named the first star of the game following the team’s 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.