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NHL – Hockey: Summary of the matches of Thursday, January 26, 2023 in the Bettman circuit

Alex Ovechkin scored from his desk on the power play and the Washington Capitals won the 64th Ovechkin-Crosby battle 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday at Washington’s Capital One Arena.

Ovechkin opened the scoring in the first period with a one-timer from the face-off circle. A scene the Russian repeated often on his 812 goals in the Bettman circuit.

Danton Heinen brought everyone back to square one in the second period when he pushed the puck into the back of the net behind Darcy Kuemper. The Capitals goaltender fumbled the puck on a long shot from Drew O’Connor before seeing Heinen jump at the chance.

Marcus Johansson and Bryan Rust threaded the needle in the third period to force overtime. First, Johansson fired a perfect shot from the top of the face-off circle to the right of Casey DeSmith. Johansson’s throw ended its way into the top corner on the side of DeSmith’s glove. Much like Johansson, Rust tied the game with a long shot that surprised Kuemper on the mitt side. On the streak, Sidney Crosby collected an 86th point in a clash between numbers 8 and 87.

Rickard Rakell got the ball rolling in the shootout by scoring for Pittsburgh, but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin couldn’t match him. For their part, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom found the back of the net to offer a 26th victory for the Capitals, which doubled the Penguins in the standings. Washington has 58 points on the clock against 57 for Pittsburgh, which however has three games in hand.


The Jets wake up too late

The Winnipeg Jets scored twice in the final five minutes of the game, but lost 3-2 to the Buffalo Sabers at the Canada Life Center in Winnipeg.

After a scoreless first period, Owen Power and Tage Thompson both netted within four minutes of each other to give Buffalo a 2-0 lead before the end of the middle frame.

The Sabers extended their power play lead to three goals midway through the third period when Victor Olofsson netted his 23rd of the season.
Nate Schmidt opened the door for a comeback with less than five minutes left when he too flashed the red light with man advantage.

With Connor Hellebuyck on the bench, Pierre-Luc Dubois reduced the lead to just one goal with 43 seconds to play, but the comeback was in vain.

Hellebuyck finished the game with 33 saves in the loss. At the other end of the rink, Eric Comrie saved 19 pucks for the victory.


Preds team effort holds Devils back

Six different Nashville Predators players found the back of the net in a 6-4 win over the New Jersey Devils.

Cody Glass, Craig Smith, Mikael Granlund, Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Tanner Jeannot (empty net) hit the target for the Preds, who sign a third straight victory.

Juuse Saros stopped 36 shots.

For the Devils, Dougie Hamilton had three assists and Jack Hughes had his 31st goal of the season in addition to preparing the net for Yegor Sharangovich. Jesper Bratt and Dawson Mercer also scored for the Devils, who had at least one standings point in their previous eight games.


Zuccarello settles overtime debate

Mats Zuccarello scored in overtime to open the Minnesota Wild’s 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Zuccarello’s goal capped a two-goal effort from Matt Boldy. The 21-year-old striker was complicit in the winning goal. Zuccarello used his speed in overtime to race across the ice to settle the dispute with a spectacular goal.

The Flyers’ response came from Noah Cates, who opened the scoring in the first period, and Tony DeAngelo, who forced overtime by scoring with 1:28 left in the third period.

The match was marked by three fights in the space of 16 seconds in the first period. Nicolas Deslauriers and Ryan Reaves first threw down the gloves before Mason Shaw and Wade Allison did the same. Marcus Foligno and Zack MacEwen also fought a few seconds later. Brandon Duhaime and Patrick Brown also dropped the gloves early in the second period.

Marc-André Fleury contributed to the win with a 28-save performance for the Wild, who had suffered three straight losses and completed a four-game road trip with one win and three losses.


Seventh win in 10 games for Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks posted their seventh victory in their last 10 games by beating the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Thursday at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Goaltender Jaxson Stauber earned his second win in as many career starts after scoring the win over the Blues on Jan. 21. Stauber stopped 34 shots from the Flames’ offense. Only Jonathan Huberdeau was able to beat him at the end of the first period.

Taylor Raddish, Boris Katchouk, Jason Dickinson, Sam Lafferty and Connor Murphy scored for the winners. With the win, the Blackhawks leave last place in the NHL in favor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who fall to last place by virtue of victories by the Flames and the Ducks.


Vatrano and the Ducks surprise the Avalanche

Frank Vatrano scored a hat trick in the Anaheim Ducks’ 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

Colorado led 3-1 when the Ducks started an unanswered four-goal streak to end the hosts’ six-game winning streak.

Mikko Rantanen scored twice while Samuel Girard also found the back of the net in the losing cause. Adam Henrique and Mason McTavish were the other scorers for the Ducks in the upset victory.

Coming back from a four-game absence, Cale Makar had an assist and went 26:12 on the ice.

With this win for the Ducks, Blackhawks and Coyotes, three of the last four teams in the general standings have won.


Coyotes dominating at home

The Arizona Coyotes were dominant at Mullett Arena with a 5-0 win over the Saint Louis Blues.

Nick Schmaltz led the charge by scoring the first three goals for his team in addition to being an accomplice to Barrett Hayton’s goal in the third period. Only Travis Boyd found the back of the net without Schmaltz on the ice.

Thomas Greiss had a tough night allowing five goals on 25 shots. His opposite, Karel Vejmelka, signed the shutout thanks to a performance of 33 saves.


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