Tom Wilson's first hat trick leads Washington Capitals past slumping Anaheim Ducks 5-4

Fri, Dec 1, 2023
NHL News (AP)

Tom Wilson's first hat trick leads Washington Capitals past slumping Anaheim Ducks 5-4

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Tom Wilson scored with 5:38 left to complete his first career hat trick in his 700th game, and the Washington Capitals extended the Anaheim Ducks' losing streak to eight with a 5-4 victory Thursday night.

Wilson, a Capitals stalwart since 2013, scored twice during their four-goal first period, with his second goal ending his team's 12-game power-play drought. He added another power-play goal after Anaheim had trimmed the lead to 4-3 on Brock McGinn's goal with 8:15 to play.

"It's a pretty special night," Wilson said. "A lot of great memories on this journey. A lot of great people, great teammates, family, friends, the city of DC, and everyone supporting me for a long time. It's an honor to play 700. You can't take it for granted in this league. To get a team win, a big win, and a good night is awesome."

Frank Vatrano added another goal for the Ducks with 27 seconds to go, but the Caps hung on for their second victory in two days in Southern California after outlasting Los Angeles on Wednesday.

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Alex Ovechkin got his second assist of the night on Wilson's third goal, giving him 1,499 career points. One more and the Capitals' Russian captain will be the 16th NHL player to reach 1,500.

Nic Dowd and Anthony Mantha also scored and Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for the Caps, who have won seven of nine. They went 8-3-1 in November despite failing to score a power-play goal since Oct. 27. Washington is 2-1-0 on its five-game road trip.

"We grinded back-to-back (in) a tough situation with Anaheim rested," Washington coach Spencer Carbery said. "They're a good team. They've got some speed and skill, and you can see the young prospects in their organization are a handful. ... To hang on to that final buzzer is just another character win."

Wilson loves playing at Honda Center: He had his first multi-goal game since the Caps' last trip to Anaheim on March 1, when he scored an overtime winner.

"It's nice to see a guy get rewarded that plays the right way every single night," Dowd said.

Tristan Luneau scored his first NHL goal and Brett Leason had a goal and an assist against his former team in the first period for the Ducks, whose impressive start to the season has come to a crashing halt.

John Gibson stopped 21 shots for Anaheim, which had won eight of 10 before abruptly losing every game it has played since Nov. 14.

"It's process-driven," first-year coach Greg Cronin said. "I told them, 'You could easily have won the last two games, (but) you can't expect to win games out here taking the number of penalties we're taking at the times we're taking them.' It's unacceptable, frankly."

Mantha scored just 87 seconds after the opening faceoff. Luneau, the Ducks' promising 19-year-old Quebecois defenseman, found the net 22 seconds later in his fifth game.

"I had all my teammates say congrats, and they were all happy for me," Luneau said. "That makes it sweeter, too."

Leason then scored on the rebound after Ducks rookie Leo Carlsson stormed through three Washington skaters on an impressive rush. But Anaheim's defense fell apart: Wilson tied it and put the Caps ahead on two goals 2:45 apart, and Dowd scored just 20 seconds later.

McGinn scored his first goal of the season for Anaheim on a nifty shot, but Wilson answered. Vatrano smacked home a rebound in the final minute for his Ducks-leading 14th goal.

T.J. Oshie missed his third straight game with an injury, while Anaheim's Trevor Zegras missed his 11th consecutive game.

UP NEXT

Capitals: At Vegas on Saturday.

Ducks: Host Colorado on Saturday.

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