Hockey Night in Canada

NHL·Recap

Hertl hat trick trumps Ovechkin's as Sharks beat Capitals in OT

Tomas Hertl completed his hat trick by scoring in overtime, and the San Jose Sharks withstood Alex Ovechkin's hat trick to beat the Washington Capitals 7-6 on Tuesday night and hand the defending Stanley Cup champions their sixth consecutive defeat.

Stanley Cup champ Washington drops 6th straight

San Jose's Tomas Hertl celebrates his game-winning goal against Washington's Braden Holtby in a 7-6 Sharks victory Tuesday. Hertl had three goals in the game. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Logan Couture needed a new stick for overtime.

So convinced the San Jose Sharks were heading toward another loss, Couture went to the bench and broke his stick over the boards. Then he looked up and saw Evander Kane score the tying goal with one second left. Minutes later, Tomas Hertl completed his hat trick in overtime to beat the Washington Capitals 7-6 Tuesday night.

Hertl went hat trick-for-hat trick with Alex Ovechkin, scoring 1:48 into the extra period to snap the Sharks' losing streak at three and send them into a 10-day break on a high note.

"All the guys in here could've easily looked forward to tomorrow and our break, but we decided to play hard for the third and found a way to tie it up and win it," Couture said after the Sharks erased a two-goal deficit in the third period. "Pretty wild to be able to tie that up there. Just a big-time goal and Herts to complete the hat trick was awesome there."

San Jose has allowed six goals in each of its past four games, and goaltender Martin Jones wasn't at his best in giving up six on 39 shots this time. But he made two big saves in overtime to keep the game going.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals have lost six in a row for the first time since the 2013-14 season, the last time they missed the playoffs. All-Star goalie Braden Holtby fought the puck at times in allowing seven goals on 43 shots.

"That's not the way we need to play to win hockey games," Holtby said. "We obviously haven't been winning much lately. The solution isn't to open up the game and go chance-for-chance. It's a reality check. This is not good enough to win. From me, from all of us."

Ovechkin, who scored goal Nos. 34, 35 and 36 to pad his NHL-leading total, took the blame for the loss for failing to make the right play with 20 seconds left and the Sharks' net empty. Ovechkin's shot attempt went off defenseman Brent Burns, and San Jose went the other way.

"Tough loss," Ovechkin said. "It was my mistake at the end of the game. I tried to make a rush play. Have to be better in this situation."

Ovechkin's hat trick was his third this season and 23rd of his career, and he has sole possession of 14th on the career list with 643 goals. That bit of history was not enough to get Washington out of its funk.

Washington's Alex Ovechkin scores one of his three goals against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday. (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)

Although Joe Pavelski scored 12 seconds in, the Capitals took the lead midway through the first period and the Sharks were at their best playing from behind. Hertl scored twice on the power play, and his second goal kept San Jose in it with Jones pulled for an extra skater.

After Couture went to the bench for a line change, his teammates got the puck into the zone and Kane managed to tap it in past Holtby with a second left on the clock. Kane had no doubt the puck was in before the buzzer, even though it showed 0.0 on the scoreboard.

"Just wanted to forecheck the puck hard and try to get it to the front of the net somehow," Kane said. "We got in there, Pavs was able to pick it up, threw it at the end. Just desperate attempt, and it found its way to the backdoor."

Pavelski and Hertl each had four points in what coach Peter DeBoer likened to an East Coast All-Star Game five days early. It wasn't an effort the Sharks were proud of, but after a rough road trip, they'll take it.

"We get it done, and the biggest thing is we get two big points before the bye week because it's nice, a better feeling to fly back home before the break," said Hertl, who has 22 goals this season. "I'm happy for the whole team because everybody put their everything."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.