“I had it all day to take a shot,” said Jensen, who has seven goals in 299 regular season games. “It was exciting. It’s been a while.”
Jensen’s previous goal came Oct. 11, 2018, when he played with Detroit — and he scored twice that day, in a loss to Toronto. In 21 games this season, Jensen has eight points, matching his total from last season in 47 fewer games.
“I think he’s confident right now with his game,” Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re really happy with the way he’s playing. He’s skating really well. He’s moving the puck. He’s doing the right things. . . . It was nice to see him, for all of the work that he does, get rewarded with a goal tonight. It was a beauty, too.”
The Capitals (14-6-4, 32 points) have won five of their past six games. Sunday’s victory wrapped up their five-game, three-city, nine-day road trip, which they finished 4-1-0. Washington returns home to face New Jersey on Tuesday before heading back on the road for a three-game swing, including two games in Philadelphia.
Sunday’s game was the first time Washington played in front of fans this season; the Flyers were allowed to fill their arena to 15 percent of capacity, welcoming 3,023 to the building. And they let their presence be known as their team allowed three unanswered goals — capped by Jensen’s score 4:15 into the third as he drove to the net with open ice in front of him.
The play started with a big hit from defensive partner Zdeno Chara on Joel Farabee in the neutral zone. With the Flyers sidetracked, Jensen slipped through and got the puck past goaltender Carter Hart, who finished with 24 saves.
Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 36 stops — the second most of his career — and looked as confident as he has all season. It was the 24-year-old Russian’s second NHL start since he came off the league’s covid-19 protocol list Feb. 8 and just his fourth of the season. He let in one goal on seven shots in relief during Friday’s 5-1 loss at Boston; rookie Vitek Vanecek had been pulled after allowing four goals on 18 shots.
“I thought he played a really strong game,” Laviolette said of Samsonov. “I thought he had some really big saves, backdoor saves, saves that you hope your goaltender makes. But they are tough and you know they are tough, but he made them all tonight.”
The comeback included goal No. 714 from Ovechkin at 15:11 of the second period to tie the score at 1. Ovechkin was on the receiving end of a slick cross-ice pass from Oshie, and he slipped the puck past Hart. Ovechkin, who has eight goals this season, is three behind Phil Esposito for the sixth most in NHL history.
Dmitry Orlov gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead with 15.8 seconds left in the second. The goal came on a set play off a faceoff won by Evgeny Kuznetsov; defenseman John Carlson then found Orlov for the go-ahead score. It was his second goal — and point — of the season.
The Flyers had opened the scoring with Farabee’s goal at 11:04 of the first period. He appeared to catch Samsonov off guard and went five-hole on a two-on-one rush.
Sunday also was the first game of Capitals winger Tom Wilson’s seven-game suspension for boarding Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo on Friday. Wilson did not appeal the suspension and will be eligible to return March 20 against the New York Rangers.
“This is a veteran team that’s won a lot of games,” Laviolette said. “We knew we didn’t play well in Boston. . . . I thought just the skating and the compete level were much better in the second and third periods, and it’s always tough when you don’t have a guy like Tom in there, but I thought they responded good to all of it.”
Daniel Sprong slotted into the lineup in Wilson’s absence, skating on the second line with Kuznetsov and Jakub Vrana. The trio had skated together earlier in the season, and Laviolette said before the game that he liked their chemistry.
“I thought [Sprong] was playing really well,” he said. “We haven’t seen him in a little bit, but that is not necessarily a fault of his.”
Sprong also filled in on the second power-play unit, but the Capitals acknowledged earlier in the day that it would be a tall task to replace Wilson. A top-six forward, he also plays on the penalty kill and the power play while boosting their physical presence.
“You’re not going to replace a Tom Wilson,” Oshie said. “Nowhere through the league is there another Tom Wilson out there. . . . We need to play together as a team and do our best to not let that be a burden to us and take advantage of the guys that are stepping in, their ice time and their opportunity.”
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