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T.J. Oshie scores 30th as Washington Capitals down Calgary Flames

By
Elliott Smith, The Sports Xchange
Washington Capitals' T.J. Oshie (L) and Alex Ovechkin of Russia (R) congratulate Evgeny Kuznetsov. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Washington Capitals' T.J. Oshie (L) and Alex Ovechkin of Russia (R) congratulate Evgeny Kuznetsov. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- T.J. Oshie accomplished a lot in his career, but one thing the right winger was unable to check off his list was scoring 30 goals in a season -- until Tuesday.

Oshie's second-period tally not only helped him reach that plateau, but it also was also critical in the Washington Capitals' 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames.

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The 30-year-old already set his career high in goals in Washington's previous game. Against the Flames, Oshie found himself wide open in front of the net after receiving a pass from Alexander Ovechkin. Oshie flipped the puck past Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott to give Washington a 2-1 advantage and a lead they would not relinquish.

"It's something that I always thought I could do," Oshie said of reaching the 30-goal plateau. "My first goal was 20, and I was flirting with it a bit when I was younger, so it's pretty special for me to get to that point. I feel like I've worked pretty hard for it. But at the same time, I've got some pretty good players around me and without them, I don't think I get there."

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One of those players is Ovechkin, who had a vintage night against Calgary. Washington's captain finished with a season-high 11 shots, three points and a third-period power-play goal that quelled a Flames rally.

"That's how we want him playing," Oshie said. "More times than not, more than one is going to go in."

Elliott came in having won 11 straight for the Flames, but the Capitals peppered him with 20 shots in the second frame to take control.

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After Oshie's goal, Ovechkin helped play a role in Washington's third tally as well, drawing a tripping penalty against the Flames' Dougie Hamilton while driving to the net at 19:40 the second. With 2.9 seconds left in the period, Kevin Shattenkirk's shot dribbled through Elliott's pads for the defenseman's first goal since joining the Capitals in a trade Feb. 27.

"Giving up a goal late, it kind of dampened the mood going into the third period," said Troy Brouwer, who had a third-period goal for the Flames. "They put a lot of shots out toward our goal in the second period and we had a little trouble breaking out. As a result, they got some good pressure."

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Elliott, who tied Mike Vernon's team record for consecutive victories, collected 36 saves in his first defeat since Feb. 18. The loss was only the second in 14 contests for Calgary.

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"They steamrolled us at times, especially in the second," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I thought (Elliott) was good. I thought Ovi was good. They were on their game. They were certainly prepared for us."

Goalie Braden Holtby, playing in his 300th game with Washington, made 29 saves to pick up his 37th victory of the season. With 102 points, the Capitals remained one ahead of Pittsburgh and two ahead of Columbus in the crowded Metropolitan Division race. Washington hosts the Blue Jackets on Thursday.

"We're trying to collect points right now," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "We're going to get tested here. It's good. We've prepared all year for moments like this."

Both teams utilized some nifty passing to get on the board in the first period. At the close of a 4-on-4 stretch, Washington's Andre Burakovsky picked the pocket of Calgary's Johnny Gaudreau at center ice and hit the tape of Evgeny Kuznetsov, who just left the penalty box. Kuznetsov was able to slide the puck past a diving Elliott to give the Capitals a 1-0 advantage at 6:47.

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The Flames drew even later in the period as Gaudreau made amends for his turnover by delivering a picture-perfect pass to Sean Monahan in a 2-on-1 situation. Monahan went up high and beat Holtby for his 24th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie.

Calgary had several opportunities to take the lead in the second period, but Mikael Backlund hit the post on a breakaway and Michael Frolik was turned away in dramatic fashion by Holtby on a 2-on-1, short-handed chance.

"The game turned on that save," Trotz said.

NOTES: With LW Matthew Tkachuk serving a two-game suspension, Calgary recalled RW Garnet Hathaway from its AHL affiliate Stockton. Hathaway played in 26 games for the Flames this season but was a scratch Tuesday along with LW Micheal Ferland and D Dennis Wideman. ... Washington RW Justin Williams left the game briefly in the second period after being hit in the head with a shot from teammate Dmitry Orlov, but returned. ... The Flames completed the Eastern Conference portion of their schedule with an 18-13-1 mark. ... D Taylor Chorney and D Nate Schmidt were scratches for the Capitals.

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