Chicago Blackhawks

Hawks sloppy on special teams in loss to Caps

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31), of Sweden, leaves the game after giving up three goals during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Also seen is Chicago Blackhawks goalie J.F. Berube (34), who replaced Forsberg. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Anton Forsberg (31), of Sweden, leaves the game after giving up three goals during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. Also seen is Chicago Blackhawks goalie J.F. Berube (34), who replaced Forsberg. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON – Nicklas Backstrom usually is the one setting up his Washington Capitals teammates.

Two of them returned the favor Wednesday night.

Backstrom ended a 21-game goal drought and had two assists, and Washington’s top-line trio of Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson combined for 11 points in a 6-2 victory over the Blackhawks.

Wilson had two goals and two assists for his first four-point game, and Ovechkin had a goal and three assists, and the duo made good on their plan to get Backstrom a goal.

“It’s funny. Me and Tom have a chat today and said, ‘Let’s set up Backy.’ And we did, and he scored a goal,” Ovechkin said. “He’s not a goal scorer. He’s more a passer. He likes to pass, but it’s nice to put him on the board.”

Braden Holtby made 37 saves for Washington to help the Capitals win for the sixth time in seven games, a streak that started when the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson line was formed.

Brett Connolly scored in his third straight game, and Evgeny Kuznetsov added a goal. Ovechkin extended his goals streak to three games.

Lance Bouma and Jonathan Toews scored for the Hawks, who outshot Washington, 39-25, and are 0-3-2 in their past five.

“Not happy about tonight’s game,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You can be misled by the shot [total] or maybe it looked like we had some looks there. The volume of our shots hit him right in the chest with no chance of getting a second opportunity whether there was some people at the net or not.”

Wilson’s spinning shot from the left circle eluded Forsberg with 5:07 to go in the first period.

Anton Forsberg, starting in place of the injured Corey Crawford, was pulled after Ovechkin’s goal made it 3-0 with 4:38 left in the first. J.F. Berube finished in goal for the Hawks.

Washington has won seven of its past eight against the Hawks, who have lost seven in a row in Washington since January 2006.

Wilson added an empty-netter to cap his career night.

“He’s always been a guy that’s been full committed at both ends of the ice,” Holtby said about Wilson. “I think he’s figuring out to create offense at the same time as being very responsible defensively.”

NOTES: Washington forward T.J. Oshie missed the game after sustaining an upper-body injury Monday night against San Jose. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he didn’t know if Oshie would resume skating Thursday. Trotz said forward Andre Burakovsky, out since October after surgery to repair his broken left thumb, could possibly play Friday against the New York Rangers. ... Capitals F Chandler Stephenson returned after missing a game with an upper-body injury. Quenneville said Crawford could return Sunday against Arizona. “Right now I think maybe there’s hope on Friday,” Quenneville said, “maybe the likelihood might be Sunday but we’ll see.” ... Hawks D Michal Kempny, C Tanner Kero and D Jordan Oesterle were healthy scratches for the 10th straight game.

UP NEXT

Hawks: Host Buffalo on Friday night.

Capitals: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

___

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

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