It looked like the Caps were about to give away Tuesday's game, but instead the Caps rallied behind Alex Ovechkin's two goals for the 5-4 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Here is how the Caps won.
Alex Ovechkin torturing Jaccob Slavin
With the Caps trailing by one, Ovechkin skated after the puck in the offensive zone as Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin went to retrieve it. Slavin had some time to work with, but must have felt the pressure from Ovechkin because he whirled around and threw the puck up the middle right to Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin had the presence of mind to cut to the net after Slavin fired the puck away. Backstrom immediately passed the puck to Ovechkin who tied the game with a backhander to beat Cam Ward. In overtime, a dead-tired Ovechkin got the puck in the defensive zone at the end of his shift. Rather than passing it off, however, he went decided to take the puck up the ice and found himself defended by Slavin. Ovechkin faked the shot which drew Slavin off balance and gave Ovechkin just enough room to cut outside and fire a wrister for the game-winning goal. It's a game Slavin will want to soon forget.
Bad goals have a way of deflating a team. When John Carlson coughed up an ugly turnover in the first period that Victor Rask turned into a 1-0 Carolina lead, it would have been easy for the Caps to collapse. It would have been even easier for Washington to collapse in the third period when Madison Bowey gave up another ugly turnover that led to the go-ahead goal for Carolina. How did Washington respond? Alex Chiasson scored 1:18 after Rask's first period goal to tie it at one and Ovechkin scored 5:41 after Teuvo Teravainen put Carolina up 4-3 in the third.
Yes, Carlson's first period turnover was atrocious. There's no way around it. But Barry Trotz leaned heavily on Carlson as the rest of the defensemen also seemed to struggle controlling the puck. Carlson logged a whopping 30:51 of ice time in this game, easily the highest total on the team. Brooks Orpik logged the second most minutes with 22:28. That's 7:23 more ice time for Carlson. With Matt Niskanen out, it is no surprise to see Trotz look to Carlson again to carry a bigger load.