OTTAWA — Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the shootout winner and Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick to lead the Washington Capitals past the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.
Brett Connolly also scored for Washington (1-0-0), while Braden Holtby made 28 saves.
Mark Stone struck twice for the Senators (0-0-1), while Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists. Chris Wideman also scored and Craig Anderson made 24 saves.
The third period featured an onslaught of goals after a quiet 40 minutes.
Leading 2-1 to start the third, Ottawa took a two-goal lead after Bobby Ryan stripped the puck off Dmitry Orlov. Ryan fanned on a shot, but regained control of the puck and fed Brassard waiting out front.
The Capitals responded with a pair of goals in a span of 1:23 to tie the game 3-3.
Cody Ceci turned the puck over down low which allowed Kuznetsov to find Ovechkin who roofed it past Anderson. Shortly after, the Senators were unable to clear the puck and the same line was able to move the puck quickly to allow Ovechkin to score his second of the night.
Ottawa regained the lead 1:17 later as Stone, with his second of the night, tipped Dion Phaneuf’s shot to make it 4-3. Not to be outdone, Ovechkin tied things back up to complete the hat trick.
The Sens took a 2-1 lead six minutes into the second as Brassard showed great patience and held on to the puck long enough to find Stone who rifled it past Holtby.
Wideman got Ottawa on the board six minutes into the first period with a sharp angle shot that fooled Holtby.
Washington responded less than two minutes later when Matt Niskanen knocked the puck down to keep it at the point and Connolly was able to beat Anderson with a bullet.
Senators captain Erik Karlsson didn’t play Thursday’s opener, but there is a chance he could return for Saturday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Ottawa defenceman Johnny Oduya didn’t play the third period after leaving the game with a lower-body injury.
Notes: Prior to the game, the Senators held a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting earlier this week and for former Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray, who died in August. Murray started his NHL coaching career with the Capitals.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press