WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin took another step toward tying Jaromir Jagr on the NHL career goals list, linemate Tom Wilson scored his 18th goal of the season and the Washington Capitals beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2 Saturday night.
The Capitals have now won two in a row at home after losing their previous six games in Washington. The Kraken lost for the eighth time in nine games.
Ovechkin scored on the power play for a second consecutive game, his 34th of the season and 764th of his career. He’s two back of tying Jagr, one of only two players between him and Wayne Gretzky. He also had two assists.
Wilson scored a highlight-reel goal after Ovechkin dangled around a defender and lost the puck, leaping into the air after beating Chris Driedger with a perfect back-handed shot. Conor Sheary had two goals, including an empty-netter, to reach 100 in his career and Dmitry Orlov also scored for Washington, which looks to have righted the ship after losing 14 of its first 22 games in 2022.
The Capitals looked like their early-season selves with the top line of Ovechkin, Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov clicking and Vitek Vanecek looking poised and confident in net. Vanecek made 29 saves, allowing goals only to Joonas Donskoi in the first period and Colin Blackwell 58 seconds into the second.
Of course the climate around the U.S. capital has changed plenty since the fall, and there were small reminders inside and outside the arena of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A handful of demonstrators stood outside an entrance with a Ukrainian flag and a sign reading, “Ovechkin supports Putin,” while another from New Jersey held up a sign during warmups referencing the long connection between the Capitals captain and the Russian president.
The fan, who identified himself as Roman and said he was from Ukraine and currently lives in New Jersey, caught the attention of Kuznetsov, who appeared to be yelling toward him from the ice. A day after Capital One Arena clarified its policy that political signs are not allowed but flags can be brought in as long as they are not on sticks or poles, he was asked by security to put his poster away but did not have it confiscated.
Nothing more came of the demonstrations. Fans chanted, “Ovi! Ovi!” after his goal just as they did the other night and have countless times during his 17-year career as the face of the franchise.
Mark Giordano, the former face of the Calgary Flames franchise and now with Seattle, became the 364th player to skate in 1,000 regular-season NHL games.
“It was an up and down journey for me to get into this league, but I feel like I put a lot of hard work and a lot of years in and definitely a milestone that I’ve been looking forward to,” Giordano said. “I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, to be honest.”
Kraken forward Jaden Schwartz played for the first time since Dec. 29 after undergoing hand surgery. … Capitals forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby played his 10th game of the season after being recalled from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. He replaced Daniel Sprong in the lineup. … Members of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association were honored throughout the night. The PWHPA is holding an event at the Capitals practice facility this weekend.
Kraken visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night in the second stop of their five-game Eastern Conference road trip.