Nicklas Backstrom scored late in the second period, and Lars Eller added another goal late in the third while goalie Philipp Grubauer made 24 saves as the Washington Capitals defeated the San Jose Sharks 2-0 on Saturday in San Jose.
This ended a three-game Western swing where Washington simply could not find a lot of offense. The Capitals fell at Anaheim on Tuesday (4-0) and then lost to the Kings (3-1) on Thursday night.
Washington came out of the three-game trip with just three goals and still came away with two points, something that’s much needed as they battle in the tough Metropolitan Division.
Alex Ovechkin needed two goals to become the 20th NHL player to reach 600 goals but did not score and remains at 598. He now has not scored a point in the team’s last three games.
Grubauer started in goal for the second straight game as top goalie Braden Holtby has been struggling of late. Grubauer came through again for the Caps.
If Grubauer keeps doing the job, Washington coach Barry Trotz could be facing an interesting decision in the last games of the regular season in terms of who to play.
San Jose was 13-0-2 with one tie (in 1997) in its previous 16 home games against the Capitals entering Saturday’s contest, with the Sharks’ prior home loss to the Capitals in 1993.
Neither team could do much offensively in the first two periods. San Jose held a 12-6 edge in shots during a scoreless first period but Washington controlled play in the second period and finally broke through.
Backstrom gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead when he scored with 1:28 left in the period. He took a pass from Brett Connolly on the left wing and fired a bullet past San Jose goalie Martin Jones to put Washington on top.
The Sharks pulled Jones in the final two minutes of regulation, and Eller scored an empty-net goal with 1:49 left to lock things up. The tally was Eller’s 100th career goal.
—Field Level Media