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Blackhawks drop 5th straight with 6-2 loss to Capitals

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Washington scores three goals in less than 4 minutes in the first period.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks controlled nearly 15 minutes of the first period during Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals.

The other 5 minutes were dominated by the Capitals, who scored three goals in 3 minutes, 28 seconds en route to a 6-2 win over Chicago at Capitol One Arena.

It is Chicago’s fifth straight loss.

Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and had three primary assists, while linemate Tom Wilson, who skated on the top line in place of an injured T.J. Oshie with Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, had two goals (including one empty-netter) and two assists. Backstrom had a goal and two assists.

Brett Connolly recorded a power-play goal and goaltender Braden Holtby picked up the win in net.

Lance Bouma and Jonathan Toews scored Chicago’s goals.

Midway through the first, the Hawks held Washington to only one shot on goal. But a failed clearing attempt by Duncan Keith led to the Capitals’ opening goal by Backstrom to end the Washington forward’s 21-game goal drought.

Then the goals kept coming. The Capitals scored three goals to chase goaltender Anton Forsberg, who was replaced by J-F Berube. Wilson and Ovechkin each scored for a 3-0 lead.

Bouma then broke the Capitals’ onslaught with a goal.

The Hawks continued to ride the momentum from Bouma’s goal into the second period. Chicago dominated the puck and held Washington without a shot until the 9-minute mark. However, Connolly tallied a power-play goal for the Capitals to make it 4-1.

Chicago had 24 shot attempts (16 on goal) to the Capitals’ 12 attempts (six on goal) in the second.

The third period wasn’t nearly has convincing for Chicago. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville continued to mix up the lines to generate some offense, but the forward group struggled to convert any chances they had.

Toews goal came in garbage time after the Capitals had a 5-1 lead, but he has now scored in back-to-back games. That’s something, right?

3 thoughts

Offensive defenseman

Connor Murphy and Keith generated more shots than all but one forward. Keith had a team-high seven shots on goal and Murphy had four. Brandon Saad recorded six. Keith’s shot total was the most he’s had in a game in four years. Shots aren’t the be all end all statistic by any means, but when most of a team’s offense is coming from the blueline it’s an issue.

D.C. drought

To my knowledge, Chicago has at least two strange droughts on the East Coast. The first one is during the regular-season in Philadelphia, which dates back to 1996. The second one is in the nation’s capital, where the Hawks haven’t won since 2006. The Hawks failed to end both droughts this season with a 3-1 loss in November in Philadelphia and Wednesday’s loss in Washington.

Hope on the horizon

Chicago’s next three games are at home and against the three worst teams in the NHL. Starting goaltender Corey Crawford is also expected to return from a lower-body injury Sunday against Arizona. Things may have looked bleak against the Capitals, but the Hawks’ schedule is taking a turn for the better and they’ve have their best player back on the ice between the pipes.

3 stars

  1. Ovechkin (WSH) — 1 goal, 3 assists
  2. Backstrom (WSH) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  3. Wilson (WSH) — 2 goals, 2 assists