December 17, 2018

Washington Capitals Game 26 Recap: Caps slip past Red Wings in shootout

OVECHKIN SCORES EQUALIZER IN THIRD; WILLIAMS REGISTERS 600th CAREER POINT

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the second time in two games, the Washington Capitals had to use extra time to decide the game.  Same story, different outcome though as the Caps got shootout goals by T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov to beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 at Verizon Center.

The Caps, 8-1-2 in their last 11 games, have taken points in eight straight. The Capitals improved to 19-5-2 (40 points) this season, marking the team’s best start (in terms of points and wins) in franchise history.

Justin Williams has been working for four games to get his NHL 600th career point. He finally got it with the opening goal and gave Marcus Johansson his 200th on the assist as well.

These accomplishments may have been overshadowed, however, with Mike Green making his return to the Verizon Center for the first time since signing with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent this past off season.

Even though he was wearing a Red Wings sweater, Green managed to help his former team by turning the puck over in his own zone less than a minute in. Kuznetsov put a shot on net that Williams scooped up for an easy rebound goal.

Washington improved to 13-1-0 this season when scoring first.

Detroit later evened the score when Dylan Larkin slipped a pass between Taylor Chorney‘s legs directly onto Henrik Zetterberg’s stick to put the puck past Braden Holtby (21 saves) from right in front of the crease.

A defensive breakdown led to Detroit taking the lead. Dmitry Orlov gave up the puck in a weak turnover while his defensive mate Chorney was caught lagging behind the net. With a lot of time and space, Detroit’s Thomas Jurco lifted the puck right past Holtby.

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard did everything he could to prevent the Caps from doing any damage, making some amazing saves on a Caps power play opportunity to keep Detroit in the lead for the rest of the second period. The Caps led in shots 28-15 but were behind on the scoreboard 2-1, the first time in ten games the Caps have trailed after the first two periods.

Green then came back to help the Caps again when he committed a holding penalty on Alex Ovechkin in the third, giving the Caps their third power play chance of the night. Once again, a stifling Red Wings defense and the swift hand of Jimmy Howard kept the Caps off the score sheet. But as many teams know, you can only give the Caps so many opportunities before they inevitably get a goal.

Ovechkin crashed the net after a Nicklas Backstrom shot went array and free in front of the goal on the fourth power play opportunity. Skating in quick, Ovechkin powered the puck in from right in front of Howard. After another coach’s challenge, the goal was upheld and Ovechkin had his 488th career goal.

“Our will to win is high,” Willaims said. “You keep coming back in these games, even though it’s early December, they mean something. You can reflect on these. You can bring from experience come later on in the season, say ‘we’ve done this many times’ and actually mean it. So these are big points. These are big comeback points, you can’t always lead all the time. It’s a good comeback win.”

In overtime both teams committed a penalty giving the other an opportunity at 4-on-3. Neither capitalized, sending the game to a shootout.

“We don’t mind going there [the shootout] if we have to,” Trotz said. “Everybody talks about the shooters, but we’ve got a pretty good goaltender, and we feel very confident if we get to that point. We’re not consciously trying to get there [the shootout], but if we get there we feel pretty good about it.”

CAPS NOTES:

  • Brooks Orpik reinjured himself and sat out for his 12th consecutive game
  • Nicklas Backstrom played in his 600th NHL game. Backstrom has earned 11 points in his last 10 games.
  • Braden Holtby played in his 200th NHL game. Holtby ranks first among active goaltenders in wins through his first 200 NHL games (118).
  • Barry Trotz earned his 621st NHL win, passing Bryan Murray (620) for 10th place on the all-time NHL coaching wins list. Trotz has posted a 64-31-13 record with Washington and a 621-510-60-113 record in his career.

NEXT GAME Caps hit the road again for a three-game set, starting with the Florida Panthers on Thursday 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.

%d bloggers like this: