WASHINGTON (AP) — Following a game that probably should have left Barry Trotz frazzled, the Washington Capitals’ coach walked into the interview room and smiled.
“Well, that was fun,” Trotz said Saturday night after Washington rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period and beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in overtime.
Alex Ovechkin scored on a slap shot at 1:58 of the extra session to give the Capitals their sixth straight win at home.
“I was tired, obviously,” Ovechkin said. “But I’ll take it.”
Although Washington took only 15 shots over the first two periods and trailed 2-0, Trotz never lost faith.
“I had a really good feeling in the dressing room,” Trotz said. “I said, `Stay to the process. If we get one, we’re going to get the other one.'”
That is precisely how it went down.
Nicklas Backstrom knocked in the rebound of a shot by Ovechkin at 3:05 of the third period, and Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it just over four minutes later, beating Anaheim goaltender John Gibson on the stick side with a shot from the left circle.
“We showed our character. Everybody in this room believes we can come back,” said Ovechkin, who capped the rally with his 23rd goal, a slap shot from the top of the right circle.
Braden Holtby had 28 saves for the Capitals, who have won 10 of 12.
Washington never got a chance to unleash its power play, ranked seventh in the NHL at 20.8 percent. Anaheim was called for only one penalty, against Kevin Bieksa for fighting in the first period against Tom Wilson.
Derek Grant and Jakob Silfverberg scored for the Ducks, who opened a six-game road trip with a win in St. Louis on Thursday night. Anaheim appeared poised to build on that victory before Washington came back.
“They came with a pretty good push,” center Ryan Getzlaf said. “It feels like one slipped away, but there’s nothing we can do about it now.”
The Ducks went on the power play only once, and cashed in. Silfverberg made it 2-0 at 7:36 of the second period, deflecting a shot by Getzlaf just 5 seconds after Andre Burakovsky went to the penalty box for hooking.
That would be the extent of Anaheim’s scoring.
“Anytime you get a point, obviously you’ve done something right,” Silfverberg said. “There were some positives in there, but things we have to improve upon, too.”
The Ducks have gotten at least one point in seven straight games, though that was of little consolation to coach Randy Carlyle.
“It’s a kick tonight, but we’ll regroup,” he said.
Derek Grant got the scoring started at 16:01 of the first period, skating down the right side on a 2-on-1 with Dennis Rasmussen before flicking a shot past Holtby’s right shoulder.
“NOTES:Washington RW T.J. Oshie missed sixth straight game (upper body injury). … Anaheim D Hampus Lindholm (upper body) returned after a five-game absence but LW Nick Ritchie (upper body) missed a third consecutive game. … The Capitals are 33-8-7 in December under coach Barry Trotz, who took over in 2014. … Washington RW Devante Smith-Pelly played in his 300th NHL game. The first 129 were with Anaheim. … The teams conclude the two-game season series on March 6 in Anaheim.
Anaheim: At New Jersey on Monday night.
Washington: At Dallas on Tuesday night, the first of four straight road games.