WASHINGTON (NWN) — While the Fisticuffs never materialized, the Washington Capitals registered a memorable 5-1 win against division-rivals New York Rangers on Wednesday night thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s 731st and 732nd goals and Hendrix Lapierre’s first. Of.
Ovechkin scored twice to take Marcel Dion the sole fifth-place finisher on the NHL goals list, moving him a few steps closer to Wayne Gretzky’s record that had long seemed unbroken. And Gretzky was also part of Lapierre’s goal, talking on national television about his relationship with Ovechkin, while the 19-year-old netted the puck and slammed into the boards.
Lapierre was all smiles after watching the NHL debuts of his parents, grandparents, brother, sister and girlfriend as part of a sold out crowd and will always have “Great One” on the highlight reel of his first goal. Ovechkin, one game into a new five-year contract to chase the mark, needed 163 goals to pass Gretzky.
After incidents between these teams last season and changes made by Rangers over the summer, promotion was being made to make it bigger and harder. They introduced a new-looking lineup featuring gritty forwards Barkley Goodrow and Sammy Blass, enforcer Ryan Reeves and big defensemen Patrick Nemeth and Jared Tinordi, but the closest thing to a fight was a pair of harsh penalties in the first period.
Washington’s goals filled the void. After TJ Oshie opened the scoring in the first power play, Justin Schultz added a power-play goal in the second and Lapierre scored 24 seconds later in a two-on-one rush.
Ovechkin added another to the power play from his trademark spot in the faceoff circle and made it 4-0. Chris Kreider scored on the power play for New York during the third period, but it was the only goal against which Vitek Vanacek gave 24 shots.
Ovechkin scored a short-handed goal to cap the scoring.
Maple Leafs 2, Canadians 1
TORONTO (NWN) – William Nylander broke a tie at 1:06 of the third period as Toronto beat Montreal in the opener for both teams.
Naylander took a pass from Morgan Reilly before a slap shot and goalkeeper Jake Allen’s short side was high.
In a rematch of Montreal’s seven-game victory in the first round of last season’s playoffs, Toronto won in front of 18,493 masked and fully vaccinated fans at Scotiabank Arena’s first regular-season crowd since March 10, 2020.
Jack Campbell made 31 saves for Toronto, only allowing Jonathan Drouin’s first-period goal. Pierre Angwal tied it through second in the middle of a power play.
Toronto star Austin Matthews, the NHL leader who scored 41 goals in 52 games last season, was sitting out with a wrist injury that did not fully recover from surgery.
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