Screaming at a Wall: Capitals 6, Blackhawks 1

The Blackhawks’ depleted roster was no match for Washington’s depth.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Washington Capitals by a 6-1 final on Thursday night.

The first period started off extra sloppy (lady, you’re scaring us!) with both teams registering a single shot on goal each during the first seven minutes.

Halfway through the first, Anton Khudobin took a stroll out of the crease, whiffed on a clear, then gift-wrapped a pass right to Capitals’ forward Connor Sheary for the gimme tap-in and an inauspicious start to Khudobin’s Blackhawks’ goaltending career.

Just 18 seconds later, a draw in the Blackhawks’ zone went to Alexander Ovechkin, three Hawks immediately over-pursued him and the puck rolled right to Anthony Mantha, who didn’t miss with a hard wrist shot that banked in off the post.

The two abrupt Washington goals changed the tone of the game, but the Hawks did push back in a different way. After a Tom Wilson check sent Philipp Kurashev to the Blackhawks’ locker room (Kurashev did not return), Jared Tinordi returned the favor and dropped Wilson with a clean hit that had both teams chirping at each other for the remainder of the first period.

Less than 90 seconds into the second, Washington’s fourth line carried the puck all the way up the ice, Connor Murphy forced Aliaksei Protas wide but when both Tyler Johnson and Tinordi failed to pick up a driving Nic Dowd, Protas found him with a drop pass and the wide open Dowd beat Khudobin glove side.

Seven minutes later, the Capitals were on a power play when Murphy made the correct read (again) on a Dylan Strome cross but the puck deflected off his stick and laid right in front of the crease for Nicklas Backstrom to jam it in.

Jason Dickinson was penalized for a violation on the opening faceoff of the third period and, on the ensuing power play, John Carlson wristed one softly from the point looking for a redirect that may have glanced off Seth Jones before it fluttered past Khudobin.

Two minutes later, a Tyler Johnson faceoff win got kicked back to Nikita Zaitsev just inside the blueline and Zaitsev’s low, hard shot beat Darcy Kuemper five-hole. It was Zaitsev’s first goal of the season and first goal as a Blackhawk.

With five minutes left, Ovechkin blocked a Seth Jones shot, took off on a breakaway, shielded Jones off the puck beautifully, then beat Khudobin on a backhand deke for career goal No. 821.

Game over, man. Game over.


  • So Washington is a completely different team with John Carlson in the lineup./

Carlson has been out for the last 36 games after taking a shot to the face and he was obviously ready to go tonight. He finished the game with one goal, one assist, a 68.18 percent shot share, 0.64 xGF and he created four high-danger chances on his own.

  • Think Dylan Strome wanted to take it to the Hawks a little bit extra tonight? Strome is averaging 1.83 shots per game this season and tonight he attempted 10. He finished the game with two assists as well.
  • Quite a last 28 hours or so for Anton Khudobin, as the Hawks hung him out to dry twice in that span. The first time was obviously name-dropping him in their cowardly Pride jersey excuse and the second was starting him in this game. He obviously did himself no favors on the first goal, but he was under siege all night. Quite a bummer for what could possibly be the final start of a pretty solid NHL career.
  • Kurashev leaving for the night is definitely no bueno. First and foremost, the hope is that he’s okay, but secondly the Blackhawks have zero center depth right now. Andres Athanasiou ended up taking the majority of the faceoffs in Kurashev’s absence, becoming the de facto center on a line with Lukas Reichel and Boris Katchouk.
  • Guess which line generated the most high-danger chances for the Blackhawks tonight? No matter what the answer you came up with was, we all still lose when the answer is MacKenzie Entwhistle, Buddy Robinson and Mike Hardman with two.
  • Well, what do you know: the Capitals entire team wore themed jerseys during the warmup tonight to support gender equity and it was a really nice moment and the jerseys are awesome./
  • Thanks for getting back to normal and just being embarrassing on the ice tonight, Blackhawks./

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. John Carlson — 1 goal, 1 assist
  2. Alex Ovechkin — 1 goal, 1 assist
  3. Dylan Strome — 2 assists

What’s Next

The Blackhawks travel to Minnesota to take on the surging Wild at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.