Defenseman John Carlson collected a goal and an assist in his return from a 36-game absence, lifting the host Washington Capitals to a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
Carlson was playing in his first game since sustaining a fractured skull and laceration of the temporal artery on Dec. 23.
Washington captain Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each recorded a goal and an assist and Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha and Nic Dowd also tallied.
Former Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome notched two assists and Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves for the Capitals (34-31-8, 76 points), who extended their home point streak against Chicago to 11 games (9-0-2).
Defenseman Nikita Zaitsev scored early in the third period and Anton Khudobin turned aside 22 shots for the Blackhawks (24-41-6, 54 points), who have lost 10 of their past 13 games (3-9-1).
Sheary took advantage of a giveaway by Khudobin to open the scoring at 10:15 of the first period. The goal was Sheary's 14th of the season and second in as many contests following a 21-game drought.
Mantha doubled the advantage in short order by scoring from between the circles. Ovechkin extended his point streak to six games by notching an assist on Mantha's 11th goal of the season.
Dowd converted a feed from Aliaksei Protas and beat Khudobin from the left circle to extend the Capitals' lead to 3-0 at 1:27 of the second period. The goal was Dowd's 13th of the season.
With his team on the power play, Backstrom alertly poked home a loose puck following a deflection off Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy's skate to stake Washington to a 4-0 lead at 8:12 of the second.
Carlson, who picked up an assist on that exchange, scored a power-play goal following a wrist shot from the point at 1:04 of the third period. The tally was Carlson's ninth of the season and first since Dec. 3.
Zaitsev ended Kuemper's shutout bid at 3:08 of the third period before Ovechkin scored his team-leading 41st goal of the season and fourth in the past three games.
--Field Level Media