The Caps scored 3 goals in the third period to beat the Avalanche 5-2 Tuesday night in Washington

Posted: 10:58 PM, Dec 12, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-13 05:58:08Z

WASHINGTON -- Two losses for Washington played a role in another win for surging Capitals.

John Carlson  scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period, and Washington beat the  Colorado Avalanche  5-2 on Tuesday night for its eighth victory in 10 games.

The Capitals were coming off a 3-1 loss in New Jersey on Monday. They also lost 6-2 at Colorado last month.

"I think we have a pretty prideful group that wants to respond," coach Barry Trotz said. "We didn't have maybe our best game last night, and these guys handed us our lunch last time."

Carlson was whistled for a penalty at the end of the first period and another in the second but he gave Washington a 2-1 lead with a slap shot with 2:18 left.

Brett Connolly Matt Niskanen  and  Devante Smith-Pelly  added third-period goals for the Capitals, and  Braden Holtby  had 22 saves.  Evgeny Kuznetsov  had three assists.

Backup goaltender  Philipp Grubauer  was slated to start for Washington, but he played nearly two periods after Holtby was pulled from the loss to the Devils.

"I thought we were just kind of dead last game, myself included," Holtby said. "I think we all did what we needed to do throughout the day to get ourselves ready."

Colin Wilson  and Tyler Jost scored for Colorado, which had won two in a row.  Semyon Varlamov  made 22 stops in the finale of a four-game trip.

"We just weren't as sharp as we needed to be tonight," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "We looked like we were dragging a little bit out there."

Connolly took a slick cross-ice pass from  Madison Bowey  and scored on a slap shot from the left circle 5:15 into the third. The Capitals were a man up thanks to a delayed penalty.

Niskanen made it 4-1 with his second of the season at 16:19. After Jost trimmed Washington's lead to two, Smith-Pelly put away Colorado with his fifth of the year with 45 seconds left.

The Capitals jumped in front on its first shot 5:25 into the game.  Jakub Vrana beat Varlamov from the left circle for his ninth.

Wilson tied it 4:13 into the second period by flicking a backhander over Holtby after a quick pass from  Matt Nieto  behind the cage. Wilson nearly scored again later in the period but Holtby turned away his shot on a breakaway.

Game notes
Trotz held out forward 
T.J. Oshie  and said he also will miss Thursday's road game against Boston due to an upper-body injury. Trotz said he is hoping Oshie can return this weekend. ... The Capitals have scored first in 10 of their last 12 games. ... Bednar said forward Alex Kerfoot (foot injury) is day to day. He got hurt on Monday and was scratched for the matchup with Washington.


Avalanche: Host Florida on Thursday night.