‘Another learning lesson’: Ovechkin scores twice on Wolf, Flames fall to Capitals

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Dustin Wolf, you’re in good company. Almost every dude in the NHL goaltending fraternity knows this feeling.

Alex Ovechkin, who tallied twice to lead the Washington Capitals to Monday’s 5-2 victory over the host Calgary Flames, has now put pucks past 174 different netminders during his incredible career.

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“I’m sure there will be a couple more,” Wolf deadpanned. “It’s pretty special to play against a guy like that. Obviously didn’t get the result, but that was pretty fun.”

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Tapped for a third straight start, bumping his career total to nine, the Flames’ rookie masked man finished this night with 28 saves. The 22-year-old described it afterward as “another learning lesson for myself and the group.”

Ovechkin, who sniped his first big-league goal when Wolf was only four years old, finished the night with five shots and joined an exclusive club as one of just three snipers in league lore to light at least 20 lamps in 19 consecutive seasons. (In case you’re wondering, Gordie Howe and Brendan Shanahan are the others.)

Both of Ovechkin’s buries — Nos. 842 and 843, leaving him 51 shy of Wayne Gretzky’s all-time record — came on the power-play, both with Brayden Pachal in the sin-bin.

On his first of the evening, Washington’s superstar captain was all-alone at the doorstep, where he tapped his stick on the ice to call for a pass and then expertly redirected a feed from Max Pacioretty.

Just over three minutes later, with the Capitals again on the man-advantage, The Great Eight scored from his office, cranking a one-timer from the left circle. This one deflected off Rasmus Andersson before it snuck past Wolf on the blocker-side.

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“You know what? They have some skilled forwards over there and obviously a guy that is chasing history, and he had a couple,” said Wolf, the AHL’s reigning MVP and the Flames’ goaltender-of-the-future. “I think (Ovechkin) only really had one or two really good opportunities, and the one happened to hit Ras’ stick and go upstairs. But that’s a hell of a hockey player over there.

“Yeah, he had a couple good chances, but it’s pretty cool to say you stopped a few.”

Dylan Strome, on one that head coach Ryan Huska figures that Wolf “would probably want to have back,” and Hendrix Lapierre also cashed in for the Capitals as they climbed into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Charlie Lindgren delivered 34 saves in the visiting crease, while Tom Wilson sealed the result with a late empty-netter.

Kevin Rooney, polishing off a pass from Pachal, and MacKenzie Weegar, provided the offence for the locals. They remain eight points out of the last wildcard in the Western Conference.

While the Flames were generally pleased with their performance Monday at five-on-five, they were ticked about being burned twice by Washington’s power-play and failing to capitalize on three man-up opportunities of their own.

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As Rooney summed up: “Special teams got beat tonight, and you saw it on the scoreboard.”

“For me, that was the difference in the game,” Huska agreed.

 ICE CHIPS: Weegar is now up to 16 goals on the season, just one back of the league lead among rearguards. Colorado’s Cale Makar and Nashville’s Roman Josi have each notched 17 … The Flames are idle until Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada clash against the Canucks in Vancouver (8 p.m. MT, CBC/Sportsnet 960 The Fan) … Starting netminder Jacob Markstrom could be back between the pipes against the Canucks. Markstrom, who has missed four in a row due to a lower-body injury, was on the ice Monday for a solo session. “And we’re expecting him to skate three more times this week coming up,” Huska said. “Hopefully everything keeps progressing the right way and he’s in our net on the weekend” … If Markstrom’s return means that Wolf is about to be reassigned to the Wranglers, he told reporters he would be “pretty pleased” with what he showed on his latest call-up. “Definitely some things to build on and a couple areas where you can always improve,” he said … The Flames dipped into the college free-agent pool to sign Sam Morton, who scored 24 goals this season with the Minnesota State Mavericks. Morton inked a one-year, two-way deal for 2024-25 but will immediately start skating with the AHL’s Wranglers on a tryout agreement.   

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