Capitals

Caps fall to Canes in shootout to cap back-and-forth affair

Capitals
Stefan Noesen and Garnet Hathway exchange words during Capitals-Hurricanes

The Capitals and Hurricanes have played each other tough for years and Monday’s contest was no different as Carolina won 3-2 in a game decided by a shootout.

Washington fell behind 1-0 but battled back to take the lead behind goals from center Dylan Strome and winger Alex Ovechkin. After the Hurricanes answered, both teams grinded out another 20 minutes before the goaltenders stepped up in a scoreless overtime period.

It came down to a shootout, which the Hurricanes needed all three shot attempts to win. Defenseman Brent Burns and winger Andrei Svechnikov provided the decisive tallies.

Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ shootout loss in Raleigh.

Caps come out of the gate slow

The Capitals were down both T.J. Oshie and John Carlson on Monday night and their play reflected it through the first 20 minutes.

Washington didn’t get its first shot off until 12:10 into the initial period, playing on its heels as the Hurricanes dominated puck possession. Oshie and Carlson both skate on the Capitals’ top power play unit and the early showings weren’t pretty: 0-for-2 in the period with one shot in four minutes.

They would’ve allowed a shorthanded goal too had it not been for Darcy Kuemper.

Carolina did get off to a 1-0 lead early in the period when a penalty by Aliaksei Protas gave the Hurricanes a power-play opportunity of their own. Winger Stefan Noesen fired a shot from the point that Kuemper never tracked down for his first goal of the year.

 

Both sides start to exchange blows

In true Halloween fashion, Washington came alive in the second period. It didn’t generate many scoring chances but making better use of the few it had.

Dylan Strome tied the game up on a battle for a deflected puck that bounced off the pad of Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen. Strome won the battle and got his stick on the puck quickly enough to fire it home for his first goal in six games.

The Capitals then showed some life on the power play when Erik Gustafsson — playing the point in the place of Carlson — fired a pass over to Alex Ovechkin that he scored from his usual spot in the left circle.

It was Ovechkin’s 785th of his NHL career, putting him one back of Hall of Famer Gordie Howe for the most by a player with one franchise. The tally was also Ovechkin’s 399th road goal, three behind Howe for the most in NHL history.

Washington appeared to have all the momentum, but a lapse in coverage by the Capitals’ defense allowed winger Andrei Svechnikov to get wide open for a shot off a rebound.

Kuemper stops them all in OT, falters in SO

The Capitals and Hurricanes played a much more even game in the third. Carolina had several opportunities to put the game away including a power-play chance for the final 1:55 of regulation, but Kuemper was stellar between the pipes to help Washington force overtime.

He carried his unbelievable play into overtime, when a Lars Eller tripping penalty gave Carolina a 4-on-3 advantage that they couldn’t convert on.

Kuemper finished the game with 33 saves on 35 shot attempts to will the contest to a shootout. However, both Burns and Svechnikov managed to beat him and gain Carolina an extra point toward the Metropolitan Division standings.

The Capitals moved to 5-4-1 with the loss and 2-1-1 on their four-game road trip. They return home for the second leg of a back-to-back Tuesday against the Vegas Golden Knights.