Game 69: Two much to ask for
Mike Green's goal just past the midway point of the third period snapped a 3-3 tie and proved to be the eventual game-winner as the Capitals managed to slip by the Canucks with a 4-3 win at the Verizon Center on Friday.
Joel Ward, Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson also had goals for the Caps, who snapped their four-game losing streak in head-to-head games against the Canucks as well as their overall two-game losing streak.
Jordan Schroeder, Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen had the goals for the Canucks, who failed in their attempt to win consecutive games for the first time since mid-January and dropped to 1-1-0 on their current four-game road trip.
Green's marker came against the flow of the play in a period that had been entirely dominated up until that point by the Canucks, who looked poised to turn what appeared to be a sure loss into an improbable win.
Vancouver trailed 3-1 after 40 minutes but engineered an unlikely comeback charge led by a pair of recent newcomers to their roster.
Matthias, who was acquired the Roberto Luongo trade less than two weeks ago, pulled the Canucks within a goal with his first tally in Vancouver uniform after he took a nice cross-ice pass from Chris Higgins and was able to blast a slap shot low blocker side past Caps' netminder Jaroslav Halak at 4:28.
Jensen, who was recalled a week ago from Utica (AHL), would briefly complete the comeback for the Canucks by tallying his first career NHL marker just over three minutes later by beating Halak with a wrist shot also to the low blocker side.
Green, however, would restore the Caps' lead less than three minutes after Jensen's marker on Washington's first shot of the period by beating Eddie Lack high glove side.
Lack would finish the night with just 17 saves on 21 shots.
Halak turned aside 38 of 41 Vancouver shots in the victory.
The Canucks continue their road trip on Sunday afternoon when they take on Luongo and the Florida Panthers.
NOTES AND NUMBERS: Shawn Matthias' goal was his 99th career NHL point... Nicklas Jensen became the fifth Canuck to record his first career NHL goal this season joining Kellan Lain, Jeremy Welsh, Darren Archibald and Ryan Stanton... The Canucks out-shot the Capitals by a combined 82-40 in their two-game season series, including 41-21 on Friday night... Alex Edler finished with a minus-one rating and is now a team-worst minus-29 on the season. He has never been worse than a minus-five in a single season (2012.13)... Zack Kassian returned to the Canucks' lineup after serving a three-game NHL suspension. He notched an assist in a losing effort... Coach John Tortorella announced earlier in the day that Ryan Kesler will miss at least a couple of weeks after injuring his knee in the win over Winnipeg on Wednesday.
ROCKET WATCH: Alex Ovechkin added to his league-leading goal totals on Friday by notching his 45th of the season and it appears to be just a matter of time before he's crowned as the winner of the Rocket Richard trophy for the fourth time in his career. Since the start of the 2005.06 season, the year Ovechkin broke into the league, he is the only player to win the Rocket Richard trophy in consecutive seasons which he did in 2007.08 and 2008.09. He captured the award last season with a league-leading 32 goals. Ovechkin has five goals and seven points in eight career games against the Canucks.
ROOKIE INITIATION: Evgeny Kuznetsov may not be a household name just yet but Canucks' fans certainly know who he is now after his three assist performance on Friday. The three helpers he notched, including one on Green's game-winner, were the first three points of his NHL career. The 21-year-old Kuznetsov was selected in the first round, 26th overall, by the Capitals in 2010 and was playing in just his third career game tonight after making his NHL debut four days ago on March 10 against Pittsburgh. He had spent the majority of this season with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL before making the jump to North America.