Super Markstrom helps Canucks to shootout win over Capitals

The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON — Vancouver coach Travis Green stayed with Jacob Markstrom after a tough loss, and it paid off.

Markstrom stopped 32 shots and then denied seven more during an extended shootout, helping the Canucks beat the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Saturday.

Markstrom was in net for Vancouver’s 6-1 loss at Dallas on Tuesday in the opener of a six-game strip. Rather than opt for Thatcher Demko two days later in Nashville, Green stayed with Markstrom, who made 45 saves in a 6-3 win.

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He followed that victory with another strong showing against the NHL-leading Capitals.

“We debated a little bit,” Green said. “I think we wanted to show him some confidence as well, get him back in the net right away. And he’s given us two big games after that.”

Elias Pettersson scored his 10th goal for Vancouver, which earned its second straight win since a stretch of seven losses in eight games. It was the Canucks’ 12th power-play goal in their last seven games.

Bo Horvat scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of the shootout, completing Vancouver’s first win while scoring two times or fewer.

“We’ve been talking about, sometimes it’s not going to be 5-3 ... or what not,” Markstrom said. “It’s going to be 1-0 or 2-1. And it’s nice to win one of those.”

Washington managed just one goal for the second straight game and third time this season despite Vancouver losing defenceman Alexander Edler to an upper-body injury. Green declined to provide an update on Edler after the game.

Jakub Vrana scored his 11th goal for the Capitals, and Braden Holtby made 32 saves.

“You play the game that’s presented to you and lately obviously we’ve been playing a few more lower-scoring games,” Holtby said. “We’re trying to get better defensively and just finding ways how to create offence while doing that too and that’s this time of year where it’s cat and mouse trying to find your best game.”

Washington thought it had taken the lead in the shootout on Lars Eller’s attempt in the fifth round. Originally credited as a goal, it was overturned after replays showed Eller’s shot striking Markstrom’s leg and then the post, but never crossing the goal line.

Even the goalie was fooled.

“I usually listen to the referees, and he pointed to the net, and I thought it was a goal,” Markstrom said. “And then it wasn’t.”

Vrana put Washington in front with a one-timer 2:22 into the game after Eller dug the puck off the boards to set him up.

Pettersson responded with six minutes left in the first, ripping another one-timer past Holtby’s glove side on a 5-on-3 power play during which defenceman Michal Kempny lost his stick.

The Canucks had a power-play chance in overtime after Evgeny Kuznetsov hooked Christopher Tanev, but Holtby denied Quinn Hughes and J.T. Miller.

On the other end, Markstrom twice stood up Alex Ovechkin inside the final minute of overtime.

“I thought this was a real gutty win by our team,” Green said. “It’s one thing to beat a team when you score four or five goals. But to push this game the way both goalies were playing, it was a nice win.”

NOTES: Canucks C Jay Beagle (lower body) sat out again after missing three games earlier this month. … Washington conceded five or more penalties for the first time since Nov. 7. … The Canucks improved to 3-1 in the shootout this season while the Capitals sank to 3-2.

UP NEXT

Canucks: At Philadelphia on Monday.

Capitals: Home Wednesday against Florida.

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More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports

Ian Quillen, The Associated Press

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