‘Another learning lesson’: Ovechkin scores two goals, Flames fall to Caps

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Dustin Wolf, you’re in good company. Almost everyone in the NHL goaltending fraternity knows this feeling.

Alex Ovechkin, who scored twice to lead the Washington Capitals to Monday’s 5-2 victory over the host Calgary Flames, has now surpassed 174 different goalies during his incredible career.

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“I’m sure there will be a couple more,” Wolf deadpanned. “It’s very special to play against a guy like that. Obviously I didn’t get the result, but it was a lot of fun.”

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Selected for a third straight start, bringing his career total to nine, the Flames’ rookie masked man finished tonight with 28 saves. The 22-year-old later described it as “another learning lesson for me and the group.”

Ovechkin, who scored his first major league goal when Wolf was just four years old, finished the night with five shots and joined an exclusive club as one of three sharpshooters in league history to light at least 20 lamps in 19 consecutive seasons. (In case you were wondering, Gordie Howe and Brendan Shanahan are the others.)

Ovechkin’s two kills (numbers 842 and 843, leaving him 51 shy of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record) came on the power play, both with Brayden Pachal in the sin bin.

In his first game of the night, Washington’s superstar captain was all alone at the door, where he tapped the ice with his stick to call for a pass and then deftly redirected a feed from Max Pacioretty.

Just over three minutes later, with the Capitals again on the man advantage, The Big Eight scored from his office, running a timer from the left circle. This one deflected off Rasmus Andersson before passing to Wolf on the blocker’s side.

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“You know what? They’ve got some skilled forwards there and obviously a guy who’s chasing history, and he had a couple,” said Wolf, the reigning AHL MVP and the Flames’ goalie of the future. “I think (Ovechkin) He only had one or two really good chances, and one of them he hit Ras’ stick and went up the stairs. But that’s a great hockey player.

“Yeah, he had a couple of good chances, but it’s great to say you stopped a few.”

Dylan Strome, one that head coach Ryan Huska believes Wolf would “probably want to have back,” and Hendrix Lapierre also took advantage as the Capitals climbed into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves in the visiting half, while Tom Wilson sealed the result with a late empty-net goal.

Kevin Rooney, after finishing off a pass from Pachal, and MacKenzie Weegar, provided the local offense. They remain eight points behind the last wild card in the Western Conference.

While the Flames were generally pleased with their five-on-five performance Monday, they were upset about getting burned twice by Washington’s power play and failing to capitalize on three opportunities of their own.

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As Rooney summed up: “The special teams got beat tonight and you saw it on the scoreboard.”

“For me, that was the difference in the game,” Huska agreed.

ICE CHIPS: Weegar now has 16 goals on the season, just one behind the league lead among rearguards. Colorado’s Cale Makar and Nashville’s Roman Josi have each scored 17… Flames are inactive until Saturday Hockey night in Canada clash against the Canucks in Vancouver (8 pm MT, CBC/Sportsnet 960 The Fan)… Starting netminder Jacob Markstrom could be between the pipes again against the Canucks. Markstrom, who has missed four straight games due to a lower-body injury, was on the ice Monday for a solo session. “And we expect him to skate three more times this week,” Huska said. “Hopefully everything continues to progress the right way and he’ll be in our network by the weekend.” … If Markstrom’s return means Wolf is about to be reassigned to the Wranglers, he told reporters he would be “pretty satisfied” with what he showed in his last call. “There are definitely things to build on and a couple of areas that you can always improve on,” he said… The Flames dipped into the college free agent pool to sign Sam Morton, who scored 24 goals this season with the Minnesota Stata Mavericks. Morton signed a one-year, two-way contract for 2024-25, but will immediately begin skating with the AHL’s Wranglers on a tryout deal.

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