WASHINGTON — Evgeny Kuznetsov had two goals and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 at Capital One Arena on Tuesday, spoiling the season debut of Nathan MacKinnon.
The Avalanche forward missed the first two games in NHL COVID-19 protocol. He played 20:16 and had an assist.
Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth goal of the season, into an empty net, in his 1,200th NHL game for Washington (2-0-1). Anthony Mantha scored his 100th NHL goal, Nick Jensen had a goal and an assist, and Tom Wilson had three assists. Ilya Samsonov made 24 saves.
J.T. Compher, Darren Helm and Mikko Rantanen scored for Colorado (1-2-0). Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves.
Kuznetsov gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 6:15 of the first period.
Compher tied the game 1-1 when he scored a shorthanded goal unassisted at 13:46 after he intercepted a Kuznetsov pass in the neutral zone.
Jensen took a return pass from Dmitry Orlov on a 3-on-1 rush and scored from the right face-off circle to make it 2-1 at 16:53.
Helm tied it 2-2 when he scored off a centering pass from Logan O’Connor at 3:12 of the second period. It was his first goal with the Avalanche.
Mantha put Washington ahead 3-2 at 14:47 when he scored off a loose puck after Lars Eller‘s shot hit his skate in front.
Kuznetsov scored his second at 16:41, skating into the left circle and shooting far side to give the Capitals a 4-2 lead.
Nic Dowd made it 5-2 when he scored on a rebound 39 seconds into the third period.
With the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Rantanen scored a power-play goal at 16:54 to pull Colorado within 5-3, but Ovechkin scored at 17:39 to make it 6-3.
It was Ovechkin’s 734th goal, moving him within seven of tying Brett Hull for fourth in NHL history.