WASHINGTON (AP) — Matt Irwin and John Scott were unlikely goal-scorers, and the previously stingy San Jose Sharks finally sprung a leak or two Tuesday night before coming away with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals.
The Sharks led 3-0 in the first period, 4-1 in the second, and 5-3 late in the third before Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored 1:16 apart to tie the game with 4:35 remaining in regulation.
But Joe Pavelski scored the only goal in the shootout as the Sharks won their third straight to open the season. The difference this time was that San Jose didn’t get a shutout, its clean slate coming to an end at 142 minutes, 51 seconds when Washington scored early in the second period.
Irwin and Scott, both scratches in San Jose’s first two games, matched their respective goal outputs from all of last season in their first period on the ice this season. Irwin scored twice, and Scott netted once to make the score 3-0 before the game was 10 minutes old to chase Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.
Pavelski and Tommy Wingels also scored in regulation, and Antti Niemi made 29 saves for the Sharks.
Marcus Johansson, Mike Green and Ovechkin all scored in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the second period for the Capitals. Ovechkin finished with two goals and an assist.
Justin Peters stopped two of 16 shots in his Capitals debut, coming on after Holtby allowed three goals on seven shots.
A high-scoring game wasn’t supposed to be in the cards, given that the two teams combined had allowed just one non-shootout goal so far in the young season. The Sharks became the first NHL team to get consecutive shutouts from different goaltenders to start the season, with Niemi winning the opener and Alex Stalock following up in Game 2.
But Irwin, who had all of two goals in 62 games last season, nailed a slap shot off a faceoff and put in a rebound with two seconds remaining on a power play make to give the Sharks a quick two-goal lead. It was only the second power-play goal for the Sharks this season and the first allowed by the Capitals.
A center-ice turnover — a recurring theme all game for the Capitals — led to an unchallenged stroll-into-the-zone goal by Scott, who scored once last season in 56 games with the Buffalo Sabres and now has only three goals in his career.
The Capitals won the second period 3-1, with Ovechkin getting an assist along with his third goal of the season. Green and Ovechkin netted 34 seconds apart to make it a one-goal game.
But the Sharks restored their two-goal advantage early in the third after another center-ice turnover. Chris Tierney set up Wingels, who put in his own rebound after Peters couldn’t hang on to the first attempt.
Ovechkin cut into the lead again with a classic power-play drive from the top of the left circle, his fourth goal of the season. The Capitals kept up the pressure and tied it a little over a minute later on Brouwer’s goal.
Notes: Capitals Ds Brooks Orpik and John Carlson were on the ice for all four of San Jose’s even-strength goals. … San Jose D Scott Hannan played in his 1,000th NHL game. He’s the 291st player and 97th defenseman to reach the milestone. … San Jose opened a stretch of 16 of 21 games on the road, with two East Coast trips before Thanksgiving.
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