Sanford’s First Career Goal Lifts Capitals Over Ducks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rookie Zach Sanford scored his first NHL goal to break a tie late in the third period and the Washington Capitals beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-4 on Saturday night despite giving back a three-goal lead.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists, and T.J. Oshie, Daniel Winnik and Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist each for the Capitals. Washington won its 12th straight at home entering its bye week.

Braden Holtby made 18 saves to win his 14th consecutive start, and Washington tied an NHL record by scoring five or more goals in an 11th straight home game.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists for the Ducks, who scored twice in the second and twice in the third period to overcome early deficits of 3-0 and 4-1.

John Gibson made 33 saves for Anaheim, which fell to 1-3-1 with one game left on a six-game road trip.

In his 21st career game, the 22-year-old Sanford put the Capitals ahead for good with 2:39 left. He took Brett Connolly’s cross-ice pass and unleashed a shot from inside the right faceoff circle that caromed off Gibson’s blocker before trickling over the goal line.

Johansson added an empty-net goal with 13 seconds left.

Anaheim closed within two before the second intermission behind goals by Jakob Silfverberg and Hampus Lindholm, then tied it with two goals in just over two minutes midway through the third, both set up by passes from defenseman Cam Fowler.

On the first, Fowler found Ryan Kesler between the faceoff circles for a shot that beat Holtby to his glove side. Then, following a faceoff in the Ducks’ end, his outlet feed created a breakaway for Getzlaf, who rounded Holtby and tied it with 8:12 to play.

NOTES: Backstrom hit 700 career points with his first assist. His goal was the 182nd of his career, pushing him ahead of Dale Hunter and Michal Pivonka into sole possession of 10th place on the Capitals’ career list. … Lindholm’s goal stood after a Capitals challenge for offsides was inconclusive. … Anaheim D Sami Vatanen missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury. … Washington had gone 11 games without conceding more than three goals since an 8-7 overtime loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 16.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Conclude their road trip at Minnesota on Tuesday.

Capitals: Return from their bye week in Detroit next Saturday to begin a three-game road trip.

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