Capitals Complete Comeback In Windy City Matchup

Nicklas Backstrom’s scored his 28th goal of the season with 1:50 remaining in overtime to lead the Capitals to a 4-3 overtime win in Chicago. 

The Capitals high-scoring offense lost Alex Ovechkin in the first period when he was given a game misconduct for knocking Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards.  It’s the third game misconduct given to Ovechkin this season.  Campbell didn’t return.

Jonathan Toews scored two goals in the first period and John Madden found the net early in the second period to give the Blackhawks a commanding 3-0 lead.

It was all Washington after that.  In the third the Capitals scored three times in a 2:16 span early in the period.  On the power play, Brooks Laich scored his 22nd goal of the season to start the comeback.  Nicklas Backstrom scored his 27th goal of the year and Eric Fehr beat Antti Niemi with a slap shot for his 18th lamp-lighter of the season to tie to the game.  Washington outshot Chicago 11-1 in the third period.

With his 55th assist of the season, Nicklas Backstrom put himself into elite company becoming one of just three players all-time with at least 55 helpers in each of their first three seasons in the NHL. He joins Wayne Gretzky and Peter Stastny. 

The Capitals pass 100 standings points in just 69 games, the earliest that Washington has reached the century mark. The previous fastest was 100 points in 74 games, set in 1985-’86. It’s the sixth time in team history that the Caps have had at least 100 points in a season.

Chicago entered the game with a home record of 26-7-2, tied with the Capitals for the most home-ice wins in the league. The win was the Capitals 20th on the road this season, one fewer than San Jose and Los Angeles.

The Capitals handed the Blackhawks their first overtime loss of the season. The Caps have won five times this season in overtime and have gotten game-winners from five different players. 

Washington is now 9-4-3 against the Western Conference with four of those wins coming against the Central division. Among teams from the East, only the Buffalo Sabres have more wins against the West than the Caps.

The Capitals beat the Blackhawks for the second straight season, having won 4-2 on opening night at Verizon Center to begin the 2008-’09 campaign. The Capitals last trip to United Center ended with a 5-0 loss.

Only Sidney Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier have served as captain at a younger age than Toews, who was given the “C” in Chicago at just 19.

The Capitals finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play, including a full two minutes with a two-man advantage in the third period. Laich’s power play tally was his ninth of the season with the extra man. THe Blackhawks went 1-for-3 with the advantage with all three of their chances coming in the first 20 minutes.

Jose Theodore stopped 20 shots to improved his record to 24-7-6. Theodore surrendered two goals on Chicago’s first 10 shots on Sunday, but stopped the last 13 he saw. He’s 14-0-2 in his last 16 decisions, and hasn’t lost in regulation in over two months(Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay, and in that game he replaced Michal Neuvirth). Theodore is 13-5-3 on the road this season, and unbeaten in regulation in his last nine games away from Verizon Center.

Antti Niemi made 26 saves and was tagged with just his seventh loss of the season. He stopped the first 18 shots he saw before getting rattled in the third period when the Capitals scored three times in a span of six shots.

It’s a flight to the Sunshine State for the Capitals, where they wrap up the season series against the Panthers on Tuesday night. The Capitals have won all five meetings with the Cats, outscoring Florida 26-12.

Originally posted on CSNWashington.com

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