WASHINGTON – Secretary of State John Kerry, the most powerful politician in the house, performed a ceremonial puck drop to send the Olympians on their way.
Alex Ovechkin, the biggest hockey star in the arena, scored his league-leading 40th goal to give his team the lead in the third period.
Set aside those two larger-than-life names for a moment, however, and look at the trio who occupy the score sheet for the crucial tying goal early in the third period of the Washington Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night.
Patrick Wey (second NHL game). Julien Brouillette (first NHL game). Tom Wilson (second NHL goal).
“It was a simple play, but it was nice that we ended up scoring,” Wey said. “And I’m really excited.”
Simple but effective. Wey passed cross-ice to Brouillette, who then deliberately shot wide of the net to set up a carom off the boards that eventually made its way to Wilson.
“The play Brou made, banking it off the boards like that, I thought that was a great play,” Washington coach Adam Oates said. “And obviously it worked, the bounce was right. . . . It gave us a lot of life.”
Wey and Brouillette had arrived in town the night before, having been recalled from Hershey of the AHL to serve as the third defensive pairing because the Capitals had run out of healthy bodies.
“From what I expected,” Oates said, “they were fantastic.”
Kerry was on hand to recognize the four players from each team headed to Sochi. He then dropped the puck at center ice between two U.S. Olympians, Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler and Washington’s John Carlson.
Kings 2, Blue Jackets 1 (OT)
In Los Angeles, Jonathan Quick beat fellow Olympic goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with 24 saves, Jake Muzzin scored the tying goal early in the third period and Robyn Regehr got the game-winner 2:33 into overtime.
In the final game for both clubs before the Olympic break, the Kings snapped a four-game skid with their second victory in 12 games.
Canadiens 5, Canucks 2
In Montreal, Max Pacioretty scored three goals for his third career hat trick — despite missing two penalty shots — to help the Canadiens to a victory over the Vancouver that extended the Canucks’ losing streak to six games.
Blues 3, Bruins 2 (OT)
In St. Louis, T.J. Oshie scored 3:29 into overtime, leading the Blues to a victory over Boston.
Red Wings 3, Panthers 1
In Sunrise, Florida, Gustav Nyquist scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, helping lift Detroit over the Panthers.
Oilers 2, Rangers 1
In New York, Nail Yakupov scored with 1:38 left in regulation to give Edmonton a victory over the Rangers.
Flyers 3, Avalanche 1
In Philadelphia, Steve Mason stopped 38 shots, and Mark Streit and Michael Raffl scored goals, leading the Flyers past Colorado.
Flames 4, Islanders, 2
In Uniondale, New York, David Jones scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and rookie Reto Berra made 28 saves.
Senators 3, Sabres 2
In Ottawa, Milan Michalek scored his second goal of the game with 23 second left as the Senators defeated Buffalo.
Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 1
In Tampa, Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves and the Maple Leafs trounced the Lightning.
Wild 3, Predators 2 (OT)
In St. Paul, Minnesota, Nino Niederreiter’s goal with 2:44 left in overtime lifted the hosts to a victory over Nashville, the fifth straight home win for the Wild.