Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals opened the season with a thrilling win over the Ottawa Senators. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo
OTTAWA -- Alex Ovechkin scored a third-period hat trick and Evgeny Kuznetsov had the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals posted a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the season opener for both teams Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Brett Connolly had the other Capitals goal. Mark Stone led the Senators with two goals, while Derick Brassard and Chris Wideman had the others.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby stopped 28 shots, while Senators goalie Craig Anderson made 24 saves.
Senators defenseman Johnny Oduya left the game in the third period with a lower body injury.
The Senators led 2-1 after two periods before the fireworks began.
Bobby Ryan intercepted a Matt Niskanen clearing attempt and set Brassard up with a tip-in to give the Senators a two-goal cushion at the 2:03 mark of the third. But Ovechkin quickly responded, scoring twice in a 1:23 span to tie the game.
When Stone tipped in a Dion Phaneuf shot to put the Senators back on top, Ovechkin evened the score again, this time stripping the puck from Nate Thompson and whipping a shot past Anderson. That goal, at 10:48 of the third, would be the last before the shootout.
The Senators took the lead at 6:52 of the second period on a play started by a Stone takeaway and finished by Stone shot.
The teams traded goals 1:42 apart on their way to the first intermission tied at 1.
Wideman opened the scoring at the 6:25 mark with the Senators first shot on goal, a soft effort from the right wing circle that snuck through the crowd in front and squeaked by Holtby.
Connolly evened the count when he was teed up by Lars Eller for a high shot from the slot. Also drawing an assist was Niskanen.
NOTES: While Senators D Erik Karlsson missed the game with a surgically repaired ankle that is not yet 100 percent, GM Pierre Dorion told reporters he is "hopeful" Karlsson can play Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings. ... With the Capitals losing key veterans in the offseason, coach Barry Trotz said Thursday morning the team is counting on 21-year-old Jakub Vrana to pick up Justin Williams' production and 22-year old Andre Burakovsky to replace Marcus Johansson. ... The Senators signed D Mark Borowiecki to a two-year extension with an annual average value of $1.2 million on Thursday morning ... It was 12 years ago Thursday that Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin made his NHL debut.