April 20, 2021

Washington Capitals Game 17 Recap: Caps beat Red Wings 2-1 in overtime


2015.11.16 winner

(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

It was Matt Niskanen, Justin Williams and Evgeny Kuznetsov who stole the show on a night that saw Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom reunited on the same line for the first time this season. Williams’ goal in regulation — and Kuzntesov’s in overtime — led the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

After four days off, the Caps (12-4-1) struggled to shake off the rust against the same Detroit team (9-9-1) that shut them out on 38 shots eight days ago.

Hero of the night Kuznetsov made his mark in overtime. While the Red Wings were stuck in a line change Kuznetsov beat Mzarek to the far side and slipped one into the goal less than a minute into 3-on-3.

Although the Caps managed to put up 10 shots (eight on the power play) in the first frame, their passes and shots frequently sailed wide of target. And in what has become a bothersome sight in recent contests, shaky neutral zone play allowed their opponent, in this case Dylan Larkin, to exploit a one-on-one matchup down the boards and then beat Braden Holtby high far-side.

Luckily for the Caps, Detroit could not stay out of the penalty box, and the Caps tied it up after Matt Niskanen faked a shot only to deliver a nifty slap-pass to Justin Williams for a close range shot. It was Williams’s first power play goal of the season. Despite four power play opportunities in the first period, however, the Caps came away with only one goal.

The score remained deadlocked at one apiece after two periods, but only because of Holtby. Holtby once again proved his status as one of the elite by making several spectacular saves in the second, finishing with 25 saves on 26 opportunities. The best of these came on a wide-open breakaway attempt by Temu Pulkkinnen, who had snuck behind Washington’s defense near the blue line during a line change. Only moments later, a rebound from another tough stop trickled toward the goal line, but Holtby had enough presence of mind to swipe it away at the last second.

The score also remained deadlocked at one apiece after regulation because of Mzarek, who did his best Juroslav Halak impersonation in the third period by fending off a barrage of shots, including several point blank ones on the Caps’ sixth power play of the night with under three minutes to play.

Caps Notes:

  • The Caps have surrendered the first goal in their last eight games.
  • The Caps play seven games in 11 days starting with the Detroit win.
  • Brooks Laich played in his 700th NHL game tonight.

Next game: The Caps return to Verizon Center Thursday to face the Dallas Stars at 7 p.m.

About Jacqueline Martin

Jacqueline Martin is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page. She grew up in Northern Virginia and has developed a deep love for all things sports and all things DC. While attending American University she worked for the athletics department and followed the Men’s NCAA Basketball team to their first ever apperance in the tourney. She is an aspiring journalist whose ideal day job is running a large DC sports bar that favored only DC teams. If she is not in her office you may find her at Kettler attempting to skate backwards. You can follow her on twitter @JacqueMMartin.

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