Sports

Evgeny Kuznetsov scores twice, Capitals come back to beat Oilers 5-2

Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) scores on Edmonton Oilers' goalie Cam Talbot (33) during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday October 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) scores on Edmonton Oilers' goalie Cam Talbot (33) during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Saturday October 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — The Washington Capitals didn't let an early deficit rattle them on Saturday.

Evgeny Kuznetsov struck twice and Alex Ovechkin added three assists as the Capitals roared back from being down two early goals to earn a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

"It's nice to see guys smiling after games," Kuznetsov said. "We feel like we played well starting from the first period, (but) we just gave up some goals. But then we scored that goal late in the first and that was huge for us. After that, you could see we had a lot of energy, a lot of power and it's just so nice to get those two points."

"We knew we could bounce back," Ovechkin added.

Devante Smith-Pelly, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle also scored for the Capitals (5-5-1), who had lost four of their previous five.

"If we play like we did those last two periods, we're going to win a lot more games than we lose," Smith-Pelly said.

Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson responded for the Oilers (3-6-1), who have lost three of their last four games.

"There's a lot of points that have gone by," said frustrated Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.

"You never get them back. They have the same value now as they do at the end of the year. It's tough not only falling behind in the game, but it's tough falling behind in the season, so we have a lot, a lot of work ahead of us and we're going to have to play better than we have, it's as simple as that."

The Oilers took the lead 12 minutes into the first period when Maroon followed up on a Connor McDavid shot to send his fourth goal of the season past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

Edmonton made it 2-0 with two minutes left in the opening frame as some sustained pressure led to Larsson getting some open ice and sending a shot top corner past Holtby.

The Capitals got one back with 18 seconds left in the first when an Edmonton breakdown led to an odd-man rush, and Smith-Pelly finished the play by wiring the puck past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.

Midway through the second period, with a delayed penalty coming to Edmonton, Washington tied it up on a bullet of a one-timer from Eller.

The Capitals took a 3-2 lead 30 seconds into the third period as Ovechkin picked up his third assist of the game by feathering a pass towards the net that was deftly tipped in by Kuznetsov.

Washington got some insurance with four minutes left when Kuznetsov put on a one-man show to fight off a defender and then hook back to tuck the puck past Talbot at the side of the net for his second of the game.

Beagle closed out the game with an empty-netter for the Caps.

"We don't have enough players playing at their capabilities, or at least what we believe their capabilities are, to consistently win," said McLellan. 

The Capitals are back at it on Sunday in Calgary, while the Oilers are off until Wednesday, when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Notes: It was the first of two meetings between the Oilers and Capitals this season… It was Oiler forward Jussi Jokinen's 900th NHL regular season game… Anthony Peluso played his first game of the season for Washington after being recalled from Hershey of the AHL on Friday.

More on Metronews.ca