Ovechkin’s thirtieth profession hat trick paces Capitals’ house victory

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin scored virtually at will in opposition to the Montreal Canadiens and moved a couple of steps nearer to Wayne Gretzky’s NHL objective report.

Ovechkin recorded his thirtieth profession hat trick to hurry up his pursuit of Gretzky’s mark, Charlie Lindgren made 31 saves in opposition to his first NHL group and the Washington Capitals skated circles round Montreal on the way in which to a 9-2 rout Saturday.

Along with his twenty fourth objective of the marketing campaign, Ovechkin has scored a minimal of 24 in every of his 18 NHL seasons, in response to ESPN Stats & Info analysis. His fewest was 24 in 45 video games in 2020-21.

Requested if he enjoys dealing with the Canadiens after reaching 37 objectives in 53 video games in opposition to them, Ovechkin replied, “No, I simply take pleasure in to play hockey.” He and the Capitals loved each little bit of this recreation.

Ovechkin’s 804th, 805th and 806th profession objectives put him 88 again of Gretzky’s report of 894 that lengthy appeared unapproachable. He has scored six instances in 4 video games to achieve 26 this season, previous the midway level to his tenth 50-goal season, which might be yet one more than “The Nice One.”

Lindgren stopped former Canadiens teammate Nick Suzuki on a breakaway amongst a handful of key stops in successful for the ninth time in his previous 10 begins. An undrafted free agent signing by Montreal, Lindgren is unbeaten in two video games in opposition to the group he spent his first 5 skilled seasons with.

“They received some possibilities, however I believed we did a terrific job countering and clearly we did a great job placing the puck within the internet, too,” Lindgren mentioned. “I’ve quite a lot of respect for lots of the fellows on the group there. However beating your previous group, it undoubtedly feels somewhat sweeter.”

The Capitals dominated, absent a brief stretch from late within the first interval via 5 or so minutes of the second. They made the Canadiens look helpless and haphazard in their very own zone, and on their seventh objective, a number of Washington gamers did laps round Montreal defenders earlier than Marcus Johansson scored.

Erik Gustafsson, Garnet Hathaway and Nic Dowd scored earlier than Ovechkin made it 4-1, heart Dylan Strome completed for a power-play objective late within the second and Anthony Mantha added a objective. Washington has gained 11 of 13 to go from struggling amid accidents to solidly in playoff place and ought to be getting reinforcements on the way in which quickly within the type of forwards Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie on the verge of coming back from accidents.

“This entire December how we performed exhibits how good we’re,” mentioned Gustafsson, who has six objectives and 6 assists throughout a Capitals’ season-best seven-game level streak. “And if we will preserve this rolling — we have now massive gamers coming again too quickly — it is a enjoyable stretch we have now right here.”

Cole Caufield scored his twentieth and twenty first objectives of the season for the Canadiens of their fifth consecutive loss. He is the primary Montreal participant to achieve 20 objectives in 37 of fewer video games since Martin Rucinsky and Brian Savage in 1995-96.

“He is fairly good — I will simply depart it at that,” Lindgren mentioned. “He received a pair tonight, however yeah he is a terrific hockey participant.”

Jake Allen allowed 9 objectives on 38 photographs for the Canadiens, who’ve misplaced eight of 9. Coach Martin St. Louis took some blame for leaving Allen in your entire recreation as a substitute of pulling him.

“I most likely might’ve helped him out,” St. Louis mentioned. “They received to eight, 9 with 4 minutes to go at that time, assume I used to be previous the purpose of no return in that division. However I feel as a younger coach, this can be a studying expertise for me.”

The Capitals will wrap up their three-game homestand Tuesday evening in opposition to the Buffalo Sabres.

The Related Press contributed to this report.