T.J. Oshie scored two while Alex Ovechkin recorded the 17th hat trick of his career and second of the season in Washington's 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- T.J. Oshie had just finished a two-goal performance by scoring in overtime for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night.
Oshie was asked about the game-winning goal, but he couldn't help mentioning his teammate, Alex Ovechkin, in his answer.
That's what three goals -- two from nearly the exact same spot on the ice -- will do, as Ovechkin recorded the 17th hat trick of his career and second of the season in Washington's 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild.
"Obviously when Ovi's feeling it over there, it's hard to stop," Oshie said. "I felt like early in the first couple (minutes) they were playing me in the middle pretty hard which opens up that weakside, so it's (Ovechkin) doing his thing over there. We've got to sharpen up some five-on-five stuff, definitely, but sometimes you need a power play to get you one and it definitely helped tonight."
Ovechkin scored all three of his goals on the power play for the Capitals, who have won five in a row. He also recorded an assist.
Washington has won five straight games against Minnesota and three in a row at the Wild's home arena.
Braden Holtby made 26 saves for the Capitals (50-17-8). Marcus Johansson added four assists.
"Obviously, you try to be in the best shape, try to do as best as we can to feel comfortable in the playoffs because every moment, every situation can change the game," Ovechkin said. "Sometimes you just want to win so badly and stuff happens. You get the lead 4-2 and we know they're going to make a push, and a lucky bounce. It's the game."
Ovechkin's big night was almost ruined when Minnesota's Eric Staal forged a tie with 26.6 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and salvage a point for the Wild, who outshot Washington 30-20.
"We'd take two, but we'll take the one," Staal said of earning one point. "It's a competitive game. Special teams were the difference. Obviously our power play wasn't good enough, and their power play was the difference. It was gutsy to battle back and get it tied up. It was fun, exciting, that part of it. But obviously we'd love to get the extra one in 3 on 3, and we weren't able to today."
Minnesota finished 0 for 5 with the man advantage.
Jason Pominville, Martin Hanzal and Jared Spurgeon added goals for the Wild, who lost their fourth straight game and are 3-10-2 in March.
Minnesota might have lost forward Zach Parise in the first period. Parise was hit in the face by the stick of Capitals forward Tom Wilson and then collided with Washington's Jay Beagle as he fell to the ice. Parise didn't return and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau didn't sound optimistic in his postgame press conference when he said Parise could be dealing with more damage than just to his eye.
Parise's head appeared to hit the ice and he laid face down for several minutes before skating gingerly back to the bench with help.
"I haven't talked to the trainer, but after the first period the eye (was) just really swollen," Boudreau said. "But right now, it's an upper body injury -- more than the eye."
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped 15 shots for Minnesota, but Ovechkin has been a nightmare for the netminder. Ovechkin has 11 goals in six career games against Dubnyk.
"I don't think I'm the only guy," Dubnyk said. "He scores goals when he gets the puck in places with time. Yeah, it's frustrating. I feel like you just stand there and do nothing and it's in the back of the net."
Plenty of hats hit the ice even in a road game for Washington when Ovechkin collected a loose puck and fired past Dubnyk 12:29 into the third period.
"We're 17-0 when Ovi scores a hat trick; that's my first statement," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said, later adding: "It's the release. He gets it off real quick and it's hard to pick up off his stick for goaltenders. He has the ability to pick the corners and pick areas. It's a gift."
Ovechkin set up in his familiar spot in the left faceoff circle on consecutive power plays in the second period for the first two goals of his night.
"Sometimes I don't take a shot," Ovechkin joked. "Obviously, tonight, our unit played well. You can see how we move the puck. How everything opens up and like, not me, maybe we score two more or Backy. Whatever, now we're a dangerous power-play unit out there and it's nice. We start clicking at the end of the year and go into the playoffs."
-- Capitals G Braden Holtby earned his 40th victory of the season, becoming the third goaltender in NHL history with three consecutive 40-win seasons. Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov are the others.
-- Washington began a five-game road trip, its longest continuous road trip since 2011. The Capitals cover four times zones with five games in eight nights. Washington plays at Colorado on Wednesday.
-- The Wild recalled rookie F Joel Eriksson Ek from Farjestad BK of the Swedish Elite League. Eriksson Ek, 20, made his NHL debut at the start of this season and played in nine games before the team sent him back to his native Sweden to develop. Eriksson Ek had two goals and three assists in the nine games.