Johansson lifts Capitals, snaps Avs’ 9-game winning streak

Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_59459 Washington Capitals right wing Garnet Hathaway (21) celebrates a goal against the Colorado Avalanche with teammate Lars Eller (20) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_21201 Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_13464 Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) celebrates a goal against the Washington Capitals during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_64793 Colorado Avalanche right wing Valeri Nichushkin (13) shoots a goal against Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen (3) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_59068 Colorado Avalanche center Darren Helm (43) and Washington Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary (42) tangle during the first period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_83220 Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) slides on the ice after being tripped by Colorado Avalanche center Nico Sturm (78) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_86252 Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (35) blocks a shot by Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson (90) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_65459 Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson (90) celebrates a goal with teammates on the bench during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche, Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
Capitals_Avalanche_Hockey_95984 Washington Capitals left wing Marcus Johansson (90) and goaltender Ilya Samsonov (30) celebrate a win over the Colorado Avalanche in an NHL hockey game Monday, April 18, 2022, in Denver.
(1/9)

DENVER (AP) — Marcus Johansson scored the go-ahead goal with 9:14 remaining, Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots and the playoff-bound Washington Capitals snapped the Colorado Avalanche’s nine-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory Monday night.

Alex Ovechkin and Garnet Hathaway also added goals for a Washington team that clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot the night before, courtesy of Toronto beating the New York Islanders. The Capitals have qualified for the postseason in eight straight seasons. It’s the second-longest active streak behind Pittsburgh (16).

“This is the way we want to play. It’s going to be like this in the playoffs,” Johansson said. “It was a fun atmosphere out there tonight.”

Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen had goals for the Avalanche, who lead the NHL with 116 points. They’re two shy of matching the team mark set by the 2000-01 Colorado squad that won the Stanley Cup.

“I liked our competitiveness. I didn’t like our execution,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We didn’t have the puck enough in my opinion. We didn’t get on the attack enough, but it was a hard-fought game. Some of those games, you’ve got to just grind through it. They’re checking you hard. They’re not giving you a lot of space. They had really good sticks and you’ve got to just find a way to get enough to win. That’s where that game was going.

“We just couldn’t do it.”

Darcy Kuemper finished with 24 saves.

Lehkonen tied the game at 2 with 11:47 left when he pushed the puck and Samsonov’s pad into the net. The Capitals challenged for goaltender interference but the call stood.

Moments later, Conor Sheary took advantage of a Colorado turnover by delivering a pass around a sliding Jack Johnson to Johansson, who fired the puck over the glove of Kuemper.

“I thought our guys were really good,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said. “That was a good game, a playoff-type game. It was fast. It was physical. It was tight. Lots of good things out there.”

Ovechkin not only drew the penalty that set up a power-play chance in the second period, but scored the goal to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. Shortly after being tripped by Nico Sturm, the 36-year-old Ovechkin worked himself in front of the net and knocked in the puck.

It was Ovechkin’s 48th goal this season. He’s tied with Teemu Selanne (2006-07) for the most in a season by an NHL player 36 or older.

Consider Johansson impressed.

“How can you not be, right?” he said. “It’s fun to watch. … It’s unbelievable.”

An assist on Nichushkin’s first-period goal gave Cale Makar 83 points for the season, which broke the franchise record for an Avalanche/Nordiques defenseman. He entered the game tied with Steve Duchesne, who posted 82 points for Quebec in 1992-93.

“It’s not something that I think about too much,” Makar said. “This one, obviously, I’m very honored to just get to that mark.”

WINNING STREAKS

Colorado’s winning streak was its second of nine games or more this season. The Avalanche won 10 straight from Jan. 14-30.

This marks the first time in Avalanche history the team has reeled off two winning streaks of nine or more games in the same season.

INJURY UPDATES

Colorado defensemen Erik Johnson and Devon Toews, along with forward Andrew Cogliano, were given the night off. Bednar said all three would’ve been available if there was anything riding on the game. … Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee surgery) will skate on his own while the team is away on its road trip. The plan will be to soon have him join the squad in a non-contact capacity. … Avalanche forward Nazem Kadri (upper body) is nearing a return.

OVI’S SHOT

When he was with Washington, Colorado forward Andre Burakovsky studied and studied Ovechkin’s powerful and accurate shot.

“It’s hard to learn much from him because it feels like every time he shoots he beats the goalie,” Burakovsky cracked. “I do have a good wrist shot, I think, but his shot is on another level.”

UP NEXT

Capitals: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Avalanche: Begin a three-game trip Wednesday in Seattle.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up