The streaking Vancouver Canucks will look for their sixth win in seven games when they host the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.
The Canucks will be playing their third game in four nights after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 5-1 on Saturday and the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Sunday. Vancouver opens a four-game homestand versus Washington.
Rookie Andrei Kuzmenko continued his strong play of late when he scored on a breakaway 1:12 into overtime to give the Canucks a win over the Sharks and complete a 3-0 road trip. He has nine points (three goals, six assists) during a five-game point streak.
Ilya Mikheyev and Elias Pettersson each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who began the season with seven consecutive losses (0-5-2).
“Obviously, it’s a tough back-to-back, but we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” Vancouver captain Bo Horvat said. “(This) wasn’t our best, but we found a way to get it done. (Thatcher Demko) stood on his head tonight and got us the win.”
Demko made 32 saves, including 19 in the third period, to improve his record to 3-9-2 with a 3.81 goals-against-average and .855 save percentage in 14 starts.
“It’s not a secret: I’ve been fighting it this year,” Demko said. “(Goalie Spencer Martin’s) been playing awesome. … I want to help out as much as I can. I got to get my game going, too. Obviously, the guys in this room know that I’m working hard every day, they see it on the ice.”
Washington appeared to build some momentum with a pair of home wins before they embarked on a season-long six-game, 12-day road trip. The first stop was in New Jersey against the red-hot Devils, and the Capitals lost 5-1.
John Carlson scored and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves for the Capitals, who were seeking their first three-game winning streak of the season.
“Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walk away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”
Carlson has been a bright spot for Washington. Since returning to the lineup on Nov. 11 after missing the previous six games with a lower-body injury, Carlson leads the Capitals in goals (four) and is tied for second in points (six). He has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 17 games.
The Capitals put 38 shots on former teammate Vitek Vanecek, the most the Devils have faced this season.
“It was an unfortunate result for the game, the way it was played,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “But they had some bounces that went their way, and I thought our guys pressed the whole night.”
Washington carries a six-game road losing streak (0-4-2) into Vancouver, their longest road skid since a nine-game streak (0-7-2) in 2006-07.
Alex Ovechkin had eight shots on goal against the Devils but is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL all-time goals list.
Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper, coming off a shutout of the Calgary Flames on Friday, is 12-6-1 with a 2.32 GAA, .921 save percentage and one shutout all-time versus the Canucks.
–Field Level Media