Washington’s newly crowned championship baseball team provided the cheers. Jakub Vrana supplied the goals.
Two days after his first multigoal game of the season, Jakub Vrana got his first career hat trick as the Washington Capitals beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 Sunday night.
With the World Series-winning Washington Nationals looking on, Vrana scored twice in the first period before putting the Capitals up for good with a breakaway goal late in the second. The hat trick also completed Vrana’s first career consecutive multigoal games.
“I’m not that surprised,” said Capitals centre Lars Eller, who added a power-play goal in the third period. “He has it in him. I don’t expect him to score three every night but he’s got that kind of talent that he can do that once in awhile.”.
Vrana praised the Nationals, who roused the home crowd throughout the evening by taking the World Series trophy on the ice before the game and celebrating each Capitals goal in animated fashion.
The Capitals previously took the Stanley Cup to Nationals Park after winning it in 2018.
“That was unbelievable,” Vrana said. “It just brings me a little memory from when we won. They brought us lots of energy.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson each had two assists for the Capitals, who have won eight of nine and lead the NHL with 25 points. Ilya Samsonov stopped 25 shots.
Elias Lindholm and Andrew Mangiapane scored for Calgary, and Cam Talbot finished with 28 saves. The Flames finished 2-2-0 on a four-game road trip.
Calgary earned only two power plays while extending its streak without a goal on the man advantage to a season-high four games.
“I thought the effort was there,” Flames coach Bill Peters said. “We needed that kill in the third, the first one. We needed to keep it at 3-2 there. They got a little bit of wiggle room, and then we couldn’t find a way to get the next one.”
Vrana now has nine goals through 16 games, with the 23-year-old Czech well on pace to exceed his previous high of 24 from last season.
After Mangiapane opened the scoring, Vrana got his first goal when Wilson found Kuznetsov down the right. Kuznetsov sent a cross-ice pass to Vrana, who beat two Flames defenders down the ice and Talbot to his stick side.
Vrana gave Washington its first lead with 4:52 left in the first when he was first to the puck in the offensive zone after Kuznetsov had it poked away and beat Talbot with a wrister to the top left corner.
Lindholm got his 10th of the season to tie the score with 1.6 seconds remaining before the first intermission, but Vrana gave Washington the lead for good with 4:55 left in the second.
This time Kuznetsov found him from Washington’s own zone for a breakaway, and while Talbot made a pad save on Vrana’s first effort, he couldn’t keep out the rebound.
“I just tried to find the space there,” Vrana said. “Kuzy, it was a great (pass) for me. I was just skating, and I had a breakaway.”
NOTES: A day after their celebratory parade, the Nationals were welcomed on the ice during player introductions while decked in white Capitals jerseys. Later, Adam Eaton and pitcher Max Scherzer were among several players who took a shirtless Zamboni ride during the second intermission. … Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin became the first member of the 2004 NHL draft class to play in his 1,100th career game . Lindholm now has a seven-game point streak, which began in last month’s 5-3 loss to Washington. … Flames LW Milan Lucic served the first of his two-game suspension for a roughing incident in Saturday’s win over Columbus.
By The Associated Press