Back­strom ends SO, Co­p­ley gets 1st win

Sunday Star - - SPORTS -

Cap­i­tals 4 Flames 3 (SO) CAL­GARY, AL­BERTA (AP) — Pheonix Co­p­ley went the dis­tance for his first NHL win.

The Cap­i­tals’ backup goal­tender stopped 27 of 30 shots in reg­u­la­tion and over­time, plus three of four in the shootout, as Wash­ing­ton beat the Cal­gary Flames 4-3 on Satur­day.

The 26-year-old backup from North Pole, Alaska, a com­mu­nity near Fair­banks, was mak­ing his third ca­reer start and his fifth NHL ap­pear­ance Satur­day.

“I’ll re­mem­ber this one for a while,” said Co­p­ley, who was mobbed by his team­mates af­ter Nick­las Back­strom scored the shootout win­ner.

“Ob­vi­ously the first win means a lot, so it feels good. It wasn’t an easy game. They came back and it was good ev­ery­one kept bat­tling.”

Matt Niska­nen, Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie scored in reg­u­la­tion for Wash­ing­ton, which has won two of three on its Cana­dian trip.

Matthew Tkachuk, Travis Ha­monic and Elias

Lind­holm had goals in reg­u­la­tion for Cal­gary, which lost its third straight. Johnny Gau­dreau had two as­sists to reach 200 for his ca­reer.

Sean Mon­a­han scored for the Flames in the shootout. Mike Smith turned away 24 of 27 shots in reg­u­la­tion and over­time.

Smith re­pelled T.J. Oshie

and John Carl­son in the shootout, while Co­p­ley held off Tkachuk, James Neal and Gau­dreau.

The Flames trailed 2-0 early in the first pe­riod and 3-2 late in the third. Coach Bill Peters liked his team’s re­cov­ery from a 9-1 drub­bing at the hands of the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins two days ear­lier.

“That’s prob­a­bly as hard as we’ve worked from start to fin­ish as a group,” Peters said.

“We didn’t get down. The

bench was real good. Lively and vi­brant. Lots of pos­i­tives, but we would have liked to get the ex­tra point.”

With Smith pulled for an ex­tra at­tacker, Tkachuk tipped in a shot by Ras­mus An­der­s­son with 1:27 re­main­ing to pull the Flames even.

“Ob­vi­ously you don’t want to let some­thing like that af­fect you,” Co­p­ley said. “There’s still a lot of hockey left and big mo­ments in the game.”

Cal­gary had a power

play 15 sec­onds later when Kuznetsov put the puck over the glass for a de­lay-ofgame penalty, but the hosts couldn’t gen­er­ate the win­ner.

Co­p­ley hoisted the Stan­ley Cup with the Cap­i­tals last spring when he was called up from the AHL for the post­sea­son, even though he didn’t’ ap­pear in any play­off games.

Braden Holtby will get the ma­jor­ity of the starts for the Caps this sea­son, but Co­p­ley had some prep for Satur­day. He played in a shootout loss

to Florida on Oct. 19 when he relieved Holtby af­ter the first pe­riod.

“Cops made some great saves back there,” Back­strom said Satur­day. “It was nice to get this one for him and get this one off his back.”

The Caps went ahead 3-2 with about three min­utes left in the sec­ond pe­riod when Niska­nen threaded a shot through traf­fic to beat Smith glove side.

Vrana opened the scor­ing mid­way through the first

pe­riod. Kuznetsov turned a turnover into a two-man rush and dished to Vrana, who beat Smith stick side.

The league’s best power play struck at 14:27 when Oshie back­handed a re­bound over Smith af­ter Ovechkin’s wrist shot.

Fifteen sec­ond later, Gau­dreau’s shot de­flected off the leg of Ha­monic for the de­fense­man’s first goal of the sea­son. Ha­monic missed eight games with a bro­ken jaw suf­fered in the sea­son opener.


Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals’ Madison Bowey checks Cal­gary Flames’ Ras­mus An­der­s­son dur­ing the sec­ond pe­riod Satur­day in Cal­gary, Al­berta.

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