Ovechkin’s four points help Capitals rally, keep Canucks winless

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin had four points, including his first two goals of the season, to help the Washington Capitals rally for a 6-4 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Capital One Arena on Monday.

Ovechkin fed Conor Sheary for a tip-in on the rush that gave the Capitals 5-4 lead at 12:44 of the third period, then made it 6-4 when he redirected Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s pass at 17:02.

With 782 goals, Ovechkin is 20 shy of passing Gordie Howe (801) for second in NHL history.

“Obviously, previous games pretty good chances,” Ovechkin said, “but even today you know first one was kind of luck, but in this situation you kind of take it and move on.”

Video: VAN@WSH: Ovechkin scores his second goal of the game

Kuznetsov had three assists, and Dylan Strome and John Carlson each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (2-2-0), who trailed 4-2 entering the third. Marcus Johansson had two assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves.

“I thought in the third period we straightened out and played a really good third period — maybe our best third period of the year and our best offensive period of the year,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “We were on the attack, and we were pushing the whole time.”

Elias Pettersson had a goal and two assists, Quinn Hughes had two assists, and Thatcher Demko made 24 saves for the Canucks (0-3-0), who are on a season-opening five-game road trip. Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau, a former Washington coach, was seeking his 600th NHL win.

“I think right now mentally weak would be a good assessment,” Boudreau said when asked if Vancouver’s issues were more physical or mental. “When you’re on a roll, you’re waiting for good things to happen. When you’re in something like this, you’re waiting for something bad to happen.”

The Canucks, the first team in NHL history to lose their first three games of a season and blow a multigoal lead in each one, held a players-only meeting after the game.

“That’s three games in a row now that we’ve had leads and outplayed teams and it’s just unacceptable by us, it’s unacceptable by myself and my leadership,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “I hold myself accountable, I’ve got to be better. Luckily, we play [Tuesday] night (at the Columbus Blue Jackets), so we’ve got to have a short-term memory and go out there and do it.”

Video: VAN@WSH: Carlson makes it 4-4 with a sharp-angle goal

Strome pulled the Capitals within 4-3 when he knocked in a loose puck in front on a power play at 1:16 of the third for his first goal with Washington. Carlson tied it 4-4 with a wrist shot over Demko’s shoulder from the right face-off circle at 8:43.

“I thought we had a great second period, and I think the game plan for the third period was fine,” Boudreau said. “But it did look like we started to collapse and were afraid to win. They came at us pretty good, and we just didn’t handle it very well.”

Ovechkin made 1-0 on a power play 56 seconds into the first period when his shot found its way in under Demko’s left pad.

Pettersson tied it 1-1 with eight seconds left. Hughes dumped the puck in, and it bounced off the back wall and over Kuemper’s stick to Pettersson, who scored into the open net.

The Capitals took a 2-1 lead eight seconds into the second period when Martin Fehervary‘s dump-in bounced off the back wall and left post toward the slot, where Lars Eller scored.

Horvat scored on the rebound of Tanner Pearson‘s shot off the rush to tie it 2-2 at 8:03, and Curtis Lazar gave Vancouver a 3-2 lead with a redirection at 8:14.

Video: VAN@WSH: Horvat, Lazar both score in 11 seconds

J.T. Miller made it 4-2 with a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the left circle on a power play at 17:34.

“Gave them a few too many chances in the second, kind of let our foot off the gas,” Strome said. “And then, there’s a lot of veterans in here, talked about it, knew what we had to do in the third and found a way to come back.”

Capitals forward Connor Brown left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury after a hit from Noah Juulsen. Laviolette said Brown was being evaluated.

NOTES: The Canucks penalty kill has allowed six goals on 12 power plays. … Pettersson has nine points (six goals, three assists) in six games against the Capitals. … Ovechkin had his 159th multigoal game, passing Brett Hull for second in NHL history behind Wayne Gretzky (189). Ovechkin has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 13 games against teams coached by Boudreau, who coached Ovechkin and Washington for five seasons (2007-12). … Strome signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract as a free agent July 14.

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