Instant analysis: Ducks 3, Capitals 2

Instant analysis: Ducks 3, Capitals 2
December 23, 2013, 9:45 pm
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Boudreau returns to Washington for first time on opposing bench

How it happened: The Capitals built a 2-0 lead on goals by Mikhail Grabovski [his 11th] and Nicklas Backstrom [his ninth], but for the third time in two games they saw it disappear. Andrew Cogliano scored off a scramble in front with 2:45 remaining in the first period and Saku Koivu tied it with 26.7 seconds left in the second period on a one-handed pass from defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who held off Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov on the play. The Ducks won it with 5:36 remaining in the third period when defenseman Hampus Lindholm ripped a shot past Philipp Grubauer’s catching glove after Grubauer had snuffed Ryan Getzlaf in front.

Angry fans: The sellout crowd erupted with about 3:10 remaining in regulation when Alex Ovechkin snapped a shot through defenseman Francois Beauchemin and past the outstretched glove of Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller. Replays showed the puck rang off the left post and crossbar before hitting the goal line and rolling out of the crease, denying Ovecvhkin of his 31st goal. Fans booed vociferously when the play was ruled no goal.  

What it means: The Caps have now lost two in a row and three of their last four games, but remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division, 13 points behind the first-place Penguins.

[RELATED: Caps fall at home to NHL-best Ducks]

Gotta Laich it: Brooks Laich played a very strong game in his return to the lineup after missing 11 games with groin pain. Laich logged 4:30 on the penalty kill, working alongside Troy Brouwer. He also saw time on the Caps’ power play in the third period.  

Save of the night: Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller stonewalled Jason Chimera with the score tied at 2 and 6:11 remaining in the third period. A little more than a minute later Lindholm scored the go-ahead goal.

[MORE: Boudreau: 'There was a lot of red out there']

Cool stat of the night: Capitals right wing Alex Ovechkin is the first NHL player to score 30 goals before Christmas since Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne did it in 1997.

Look ahead: Thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Caps have complete days off on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They return to the ice Friday night when the New York Rangers visit Verizon Center. The Caps beat the Rangers 4-1 in the two teams’ last meeting.