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Ducks end six-game skid with win over Capitals

Jakob Silfverberg scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, John Gibson made 41 saves and the Ducks handed the staggering Washington Capitals a sixth consecutive loss, 4-2 Thursday night.

The Capitals are locked in their longest losing streak since losing seven in a row in 2019 and their longest run without a run in nearly two decades. They last lost six straight games all by rules in October 2003, before the NHL had a salary cap and before Alex Ovechkin was drafted.

This loss to last place Ducks, which ended their six-game skid, came in the wake of Washington trading two key players. Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Dmitry Orlov and gritty winger Garnet Hathaway were sent to the leading Boston Bruins for draft picks and depth forward Craig Smith, marking the beginning of the Capitals’ first trade deadline sellout since Ovechkin’s rookie year in 2005–06.

“We still have a chance to make the playoffs,” said Ovechkin. “You never know what’s going to happen. We just keep playing. Nothing we can do. We players, we have to play the game and it’s not our job to make a decision.”

The team’s struggles in recent weeks contributed to general manager Brian MacLellan making the first of what could be several moves ahead of free agents like Orlov and Hathaway. Defenseman Nick Jensen, who scored one of Washington’s two goals, could be another.

The Ducks will also sell, but they enjoyed a moment of joy in a difficult season thanks to goals from Isac Lundestrom, Troy Terry, Silfverberg and an empty net from Derek Grant.

“It’s been some tough sledding for us this year, I think: a lot of ups and downs,” said Ducks center Ryan Strome, who improved to 7-0 in the NHL against brother Dylan. “In such a tough season you want to ride on the tops as much as possible.”

Strome wants Gibson to score high after the Ducks’ long-time starting goalie made some hockey history.

Gibson’s 21st save earned him the most in the first 40 games of the season as a goaltender since Hall of Famer Jacques Plante made 1,396 for the New York Rangers in 1963–64. Gibson, who has seen the most shots and made the most saves in the NHL this season, made more than 40 stops for a 10th time as the league leader.

“I feel like he’s making 40 saves every night,” said Silfverberg. “He’s been great to us.”

The Capitals were booed by home fans amid several turnovers, missed defensive assignments and at least one soft goal against Charlie Lindgren, who conceded just 20 shots in his first start since Feb. 12 – the start of this slip.

“It’s been a really tough time here,” Lindgren said. “There’s no room for pouting. There’s no room for sulking.”

Ovechkin had a few good scoring opportunities in his first game back after missing the previous week due to his father’s death, but no points. He and his teammates wore white and red stickers that read “Papa Ovi” on their helmets.

“Thanks for team, thanks for organization for support,” Ovechkin said. “It’s been a tough time for me, for my family and for all my friends, but it’s life and it will be a memory forever and we just have to move on.”

Terry scored in his first game back from injury, as the Ducks played without two players who are candidates to be traded: defender John Klingberg and winger Adam Henrique, out with lower body injuries.