Ovechkin gets No. 841 as Capitals beat Canucks 2-1

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored his 841st career goal and the Washington Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Saturday night.

Tom Wilson also scored as the Capitals pulled into a tie with the New York Islanders, one point behind Detroit for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Charlie Lindgren finished with 21 saves.

Ovechkin pulled 53 goals behind Wayne Gretzky for first place on the NHL’s career scoring list.

”(The Canucks) had a little push to start, but other than that everyone worked extremely, extremely hard tonight and really poured their heart out so it was a character win for us,” Washington's T.J. Oshie said. “This team just keeps finding a way. Our character keeps shining through and finding ways to just keep this thing alive, so it’s fun right now.”

Brock Boeser scored for the Canucks, who remained atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of Central Division-leading Colorado and Dallas. Casey DeSmith had 22 saves.

“Low-event game, not much offense, a lot of missed shots, not much interior play,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said. “We’re not attacking the interior and we missed so many chances or shots, a lot of shots.”

Vancouver pulled DeSmith with two minutes left but couldn’t beat Lindgren with the extra skater.

Vancouver got on the board just 1:11 into the game when Quinn Hughes fired a shot from the faceoff circle and Boeser tipped it in through Lindgren’s legs for his team-leading 36th goal of the season. With an assist on the play, Hughes got his 77th point of the campaign, setting a new career high. The Canucks captain also broke the franchise record for points for a defenseman that he set last year when he had 76.

“Right away they got us maybe on our heels a little bit," Lindgren said. “That’s a big, strong fast team over there. Obviously they potted one on the first shift there. ... “That’s never the way you want to start a game but I thought after a few minutes, we got our feet under us and really did a good job from there on out. The second period was our best period for sure. We were all over them and one heck of an effort again.”

Washington tied it at 6:01 of the second. Moments after the Canucks were called for icing, the puck went off Wilson’s skate in front of the net and was gathered by Ivan Miroshnichenko. He used a backhand pass to feed Wilson at the side of the net and the burly forward tapped it in.

Just 1:53 later, Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead with his 19th goal of the season. DeSmith came out of his crease, anticipating a shot from the slot. Instead, Connor McMichael found an unmarked Ovechkin stationed at the side of the net and the Russian forward poked it in.

After a slow start to the campaign, Ovechkin has 11 goals in his last 20 games.

“The guy’s amazing,” Tocchet said. “Even at this age, he finds somehow to contribute. I’ve seen that guy score a lot of goals live.”

The Canucks fought to get back in the game in the third period, outshooting the Capitals 11-4.

Oshie played his 1,000th regular-season NHL game. The milestone was announced over the loud speaker during the game’s first TV timeout, drawing loud cheers from the crowd as Oshie waved from the bench. The 37-year-old, picked 24th overall by St. Louis in the 2005 draft, has 301 goals and 388 assists across his career.

Oshie nearly missed the game after leaving Washington’s morning skate with an upper-body injury. After getting some treatment, he was happy to celebrate the milestone with a victory.

Tyler Myers returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing six games with an upper-body injury. The 6-foot-8 defenseman has four goals and 19 assists in 63 games this season.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Calgary on Monday night to finish a five-game trip.

Canucks: Host Buffalo on Tuesday night in the fourth of a nine-game homestand.

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