BALTIMORE—During a game where the Washington Capitals truly needed to concentrate on playing tough defense, one quick pass on offense changed everything.
Nic Dowd saw that teammate Carl Hagelin was about to be released from the penalty box in the second period when getting the puck deep in the Washington zone. Dowd then did a back-hand flip of a high alley-oop pass that sprung Hagelin for a breakaway. The former Penguin than scored the tie breaking goal as Washington went on to a 3-1 victory over Winnipeg on March 10.
That gave the Caps their second seven-game winning streak this season.
The Jets have lots of speed and can create lots of scoring chances, which they did in this game. Winnipeg outshot the Caps 34-17, but goalie Pheonix Copley made 33 stops in a big test for him as coach Todd Reirden raised a few eyebrows by letting starter Braden Holtby take a day off.
The game was tied at one, and Washington had only gotten seven shots overall when Hagelin scored on his breakaway with 5:28 left in the second period. That gave the Caps the lead for good at 2-1.
“I think you always have a dream that it might land on your stick, and today was one of those days,” says Hagelin of coming out of the box to score. “I was going to come in and help our team defensively, and then Dowder got the puck so I might as well take off and go for a breakaway, and he threw me a nice alley-oop.”
Washington moved to a four-point lead over the Islanders in the Metropolitan Division with that win.
WIZARDS FALL TO T-WOLVES IN OT
Bradley Beal tried to pick up the Washington Wizards and carry them on his back Saturday night in Minnesota. He just couldn’t quite make it work.
Beal finished with 36 points – including a buzzer-beating three-pointer that would send the game into overtime – plus 10 rebounds and nine assists. But Washington came up short again as Minnesota rallied for a 135-130 victory.
The way Beal played late was phenomenal. He scored the last 14 points for Washington in the fourth quarter, including that big jumper. Beal added four more in overtime, but the Wizards couldn’t finish the job.
Trevor Ariza helped with 27 points while Tomas Satoransky handed out 11 assists. The Wizards held a 71-60 halftime lead and were on top most of the game, but they couldn’t hold it.
“We gave ourselves a great opportunity down the stretch to win,” Beal told the team’s web site. “We have to [do] a much better job of closing out games.”
D.C. UNITED TIES NYCFC
The weather was ugly, and the field at Yankee Stadium wasn’t much better, but D.C. United still came up with a point on March 10, battling the New York City FC to a scoreless tie.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid helped in his 200th career start. He recorded the 56th shutout in the game as D.C. United improved to 4-4-2 in its history against NYCFC.
The tie left United with a 1-0-1 record so far this season, and that’s something captain Wayne Rooney said isn’t too bad.
“It’s a good start for us, like I said before, four points from the two games, I think we’ll be happy with that,” Rooney told the media after the game. “We’ve started well, and we got a home game against Salt Lake next week and if we can win that it’ll be a really good start going into the two-week break.”