Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin was an absolute beast in the third period, drawing a holding penalty on Mike Green and a hooking penalty on Brendan Smith before finally scoring against the Red Wings on his 28th shot of the season against them in three games. That sent the game into a very entertaining overtime, where each team failed to score on the power play. The Caps won it quickly in the shootout, getting goals from T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov, while getting consecutive stops by Braden Holtby on Gustav Nyqvist and Pavel Datsyuk.
What it means: The Capitals vaulted past the New York Rangers and into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 40 points, one more than the Rangers. The Caps have played two fewer games. The Caps also improved to 7-0 following a loss this season.
Quick milestones: Justin Williams netted his 600th NHL point just 43 seconds into the game when he pitchforked a centering pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard. Marcus Johansson netted the other assist for his 200th NHL point. Williams recorded his first NHL point on Oct. 5, 2000 when he put his own rebound past Vancouver goalie Felix Potvin as member of the Flyers. It came on Williams’ second NHL shift on a line with left wing John LeClair and center Keith Primeau. That was also the NHL debut of Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Williams had a goal and two assists in that game. The Sedins did not record a point.
Save of the game: With 3:22 remaining in the second period and the Red Wings leading 2-1, Jason Chimera had a golden opportunity to tie the game but fired into the right pad of Jimmy Howard, who sprawled to make the save, losing his stick in the process.
Oops: Dmitry Orlov’s defensive zone turnover 3:16 into the second period led to Tomas Jurco’s go-ahead goal. Orlov arrived at the goal line in time to swipe the puck away from forward Luke Glendening, but he completely missed the puck, allowing Joakim Andersson to find Henrik Zetterberg alone in front for Zetterberg’s fifth of the season.
Line shuffling: Midway through the second period Barry Trotz flipped centers Jay Beagle and Michael Latta, using Beagle between fourth line left wing Brooks Laich and right wing Andre Burakovsky, and Latta between third-liners Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson. A few shifts later Tortz went back to his original line combinations.
Thanks, Greenie: During a break in the first period the Capitals showed a video tribute to Mike Green, who spent 10 seasons and 575 games in Washington. Green responded by applauding the fans. Before the game he shared his thoughts on playing in Washington.
On seeing Washington fans embrace the Capitals:
“I was just a piece of the puzzle, really. I didn’t do anything spectacular besides enjoy playing the game here. We enjoyed when the fans would come out and watch. It’s exciting to see how far it’s come since I first started.”
On his first season in Washington in 2005-06:
“I remember my first couple of games at the MCI Center, there were maybe 6 or 8,000 fans and now I know they sell out most nights, if not every night, and that’s quite an accomplishment for the organization.”
On returning to D.C.: “I obviously spent a great deal of time in the area and some of the things that I’m most proud of are the off-ice stuff as far as charities. If I see kids with my jerseys or whatnot, that always brings a smile to my face.”
On failing to win a Stanley Cup as a Capital: “That was always our ultimate goal. It’s never easy to win in this league, that’s for sure. We always took pride in the journey to try to get there, including myself. We had a lot of fun doing it but my time kind of just ran out there and I wish them all the best.”