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Eight Crazy Nights: Capitals 7, Blackhawks 3

The Blackhawks were part of a historical night! Just not in a good way.

Washington Capitals v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks offered a chance for the greatest goal scorer in NHL history to make some history, and Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin obliged by netting a hat trick — including the 800th goal of his career — in a 7-3 Chicago loss at the United Center on Tuesday night.

Ovechkin entered the game at 797 career goals and needed just 24 seconds to tally No. 798:

No. 799 followed about eight minutes later:

In his first game back from injury, Tyler Johnson provided the Blackhawks’ first tally with this goal at the 19:00 mark of the opening period:

After Trevor van Riemsdyk — “you all remember him” — restored Washington’s two-goal advantage early in the second period, Jonathan Toews scored on the power play to make it a 3-2 Blackhawks’ deficit:

Nic Dowd scored with 2:42 left in the second, making it a 4-2 Washington advantage to start the third period.

Then history occurred as Ovechkin was left all alone in the crease to bury career goal No. 800:

Anthony Mantha and Dmitry Orlov added insurance goals for the Capitals, sandwiched around a garbage-time goal from Max Domi that’s not worth a second look.

Notes

  • The debate’s over, right? Ovechkin has to be the best goal scorer in NHL history. Take his numbers, adjust them for the era, and his 800 tower over everyone else who’s near him — above or below — on that list.
  • Enjoyed the respect shown to Ovechkin by the fans in the building, the stadium operations staff and also by Kane and Toews after the game:
  • And as one final aside on Ovechkin:
  • OK, Blackhawks things: what the FUCK was going on with the defense during that 800th goal? Jack Johnson coughs the puck up behind his own net. Jujhar Khaira skates to the crease to cover for a millisecond before coasting into an area where he’s contributing not one fucking thing. Connor Murphy loses his stick. Petr Mrazek loses his net. And, at the very end, Patrick Kane nearly breaks his neck in a final, desperate attempt at a backcheck. Just a colossal failure all around and one that’ll be replayed forever. What a shitshow.
  • Or, as Toews put it after the game:

There are defensive breakdowns happening all over the place with this team lately. Yeah, I know, rebuild and all that. But a semblance of defensive structure would offer some level of encouragement that this trainwreck can be put back on the tracks in shorter order. Faith in that is fleeting at the moment.

  • Speaking of that: there aren’t many guys on this current team who are worthy of consideration for long-term roles, but it also feels like none of the players who do have that distinction are producing much. Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Raddysh have seen plenty of top-six minutes but are far from flourishing. Filip Roos was just sent back to Rockford. Maybe Ian Mitchell finally gets going now that he appears to be getting a longer look following Roos’ demotion? Anything would be nice at this point.
  • Only 55 games left!

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Alex Ovechkin (WSH) — Duh. 3 goals, 1 assist
  2. Anthony Mantha (WSH) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Nicolas Aube-Kubel (WSH) — 2 assists, 69.70 CF%, 76.51 xGF%

What’s next

The Blackhawks are back at the United Center on Thursday night to host the Vegas Golden Knights for a 7:30 p.m. start.