For the Capitals, a new year is still offering up the same results in overtime.
With a 4-3 loss to the Devils on Sunday at Capital One Arena, the Capitals remained winless (0-7) in three-on-three overtime this season as the Devils capitalized on a late turnover to earn the two points they’d nearly walked away with in regulation.
This time came a bit more painful than some other defeats, as Dmitry Orlov couldn’t contain a bouncing puck in his own end, then a pass went right underneath his stick as Nico Hischier buried the winner. The defensive turnover came after the Capitals had a few chances of their own to end the game, too, encompassing another frustrating overtime loss in Washington.
“Yeah, it happens,” Nic Dowd said. “Lars (Eller) had a chance to end the game too, so we could be talking a different story right now. I think honestly I can’t even remember our overtime losses, but I think just speaking to that one, we had a chance, they had a chance and theirs went in. The puck rolled on Lars, he just happened to miss the net. That’s the only difference.”
The Capitals are, in total, 2-8 after regulation this season, but those two wins have come by way of the shootout. They nearly had a chance to win the game with Eller’s mini-break away, but the puck rolled on him and he fired a shot that missed the net entirely.
The problem for Washington was that the overtime was almost a direct reflection of how the previous 60 minutes had gone.
“I thought we had it and we turned it over a lot in overtime,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “We had it, we gave it back, we worked, got it back, gave it back again, won the faceoff, gave it back and that was the story of the night, we were chasing the game and not clean. We gave up too much, too much defensively, too many chances, gave up 20-plus chances you are not going to win a game.”
The silver lining for the Capitals, however, was that the game probably should have never even reached overtime. In that respect, they were fortunate to have earned at least a point.
With a host of new faces in the lineup, and T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom out with non-COVID illnesses, they struggled to mesh in the early going and the Devils took advantage with a 2-0 lead.
It took two late goals, first a highlight-reel goal from Dowd and another from Conor Sheary off a misplay by the Devils’ goalie with 3:47 left, to tie the game and force overtime in the first place.
Still, the sting of the overtime winless streak will continue for two reasons: One, because the Capitals feel they could have stacked a few more points than they have so far this season, and second, because they felt Sunday was a missed opportunity before overtime even began.
“I think anytime you’re not playing your top game and you come back and get a point out of it it’s always good,” Nick Jensen said. “At the same time we want to be better the first 60 minutes. Having guys out of the lineup’s never been an excuse for us this year so that’s out of the question. We’ve just got to make sure we show up earlier in the games.”