Backstrom’s OT goal lifts Capitals past Avalanche 3-2

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, nicklas backstrom, alex ovechkin
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, right, jumps into the arms of center Nicklas Backstrom, who scored in overtime of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. The Capitals won 3-2. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Jakub Vrana, Mark Barberio, jakub vrana, mark barberio
Washington Capitals left wing Jakub Vrana, left, slips past Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio to put a shot on goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Nic Dowd, Colin Wilson, john carlson, nic dowd, colin wilson
Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd pulls in the puck as Colorado Avalanche center Colin Wilson and Capitals defenseman John Carlson, right, tangle during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. The Capitals won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Mikko Rantanen, Travis Boyd, mikko rantanen, travis boyd
Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen, front, and Washington Capitals center Travis Boyd work for the puck along the boards during the third period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. The Capitals won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Lars Eller, Philipp Grubauer, lars eller, philipp grubauer
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer, left, makes a save as Washington Capitals center Lars Eller skates in from the side in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Philipp Grubauer, Philipp grubauer
Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer watches a shot off the stick of Washington Capitals right wing Devante Smith-Pelly go into the net for a goal in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
Nicklas Backstrom, nicklas backstrom
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom waits for a face off against the Colorado Avalanche in the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) (AP/David Zalubowski)
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Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, nicklas backstrom, alex ovechkin
Jakub Vrana, Mark Barberio, jakub vrana, mark barberio
Nic Dowd, Colin Wilson, john carlson, nic dowd, colin wilson
Mikko Rantanen, Travis Boyd, mikko rantanen, travis boyd
Lars Eller, Philipp Grubauer, lars eller, philipp grubauer
Philipp Grubauer, Philipp grubauer
Nicklas Backstrom, nicklas backstrom

DENVER (AP) — When they were teammates, Nicklas Backstrom always had a tough time against Philipp Grubauer in practice.

The Washington Capitals veteran had better luck when they met as opponents Friday night.

Backstrom was left uncovered on a 4-on-3 power play and scored 22 seconds into overtime to lift the Capitals over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2.

“I used to struggle scoring in practice against Grubauer,” Backstram said. “He was probably used to me passing, too. Tom (Wilson) gave me a good pass and I was able to get the shot off.”

Alex Ovechkin and Devante Smith-Pelly also scored for the Capitals, and Pheonix Copley stopped 24 shots.

Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg scored for the Avalanche while Grubauer, acquired by Colorado in an offseason trade with Washington to bolster their depth at goalie behind Semyon Varlamov, had 26 saves.

With 2:44 left in the third period, Ian Cole fired a shot from between the circles that glanced off Copley’s pads. The puck trickled out to the right side of the net, where Wilson tied it at 2.

The Capitals ended it on a 4-on-3 power play. Backstrom was left uncovered for a clean shot in the high slot that beat Grubauer on his stick side. Backstrom also had an assist.

“We drew a penalty and made the most of our chance,” Ovechkin said.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said he thought the Avalanche did not play with a sense of urgency early.

“Third period, different story,” he said. “We started ramping it up, that’s why we generated some chances in the third and they didn’t, because we were more desperate. I want us to play a whole game like we’re down a goal and bring that desperation and urgency to the game.”

With the score tied at 1, Tom Wilson started a rush and passed the puck ahead to Backstrom, who dished off to the streaking Ovechkin. He split defenders and let loose a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that sailed over Grubauer’s glove at 18:29 of the second.

Smith-Pelly pulled Washington Even 8:55 into the second off a cross-ice pass from Chandler Stephenson.

Colorado just missed adding a goal from Mark Barberio when his shot glanced off the right post at 11:01 of the second.

“A sloppy game by us,” Colin Wilson said. “They had more effort, a little more attention to detail. We turned it on in the last 10 minutes, but it was just too little, too late. Games like that, you want to eliminate them as much as possible. It wasn’t an X’s and O’s thing, just effort.

“Coming out with a point is better than no points at all,” Wilson added.

NOTES: T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Braden Holtby were ruled out for the game against the Avalanche because of upper body injuries. They are all listed as day to day. … The Avs remain one win shy of their 1,000th victory since moving to Denver from Quebec in 1995. The Avs 999 wins in that span include 897 in the regular season and 102 in the playoffs.

UP NEXT

Capitals: Play at Montreal on Monday night.

Avalanche: Visit Anaheim on Sunday night.

___

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