OSHIE, BACKSTROM SCORE IN SHOOTOUT TO LIFT CAPS OVER DUCKS
The Washington Capitals started a grueling west coast swing with a matchup against the only team in the league that’s been hotter than them since Christmas. After 65 minutes of exhilarating hockey, the Caps and Anaheim Ducks needed a shootout to settle the score.
T.J. Oshie and Nick Backstrom scored in the shootout and the Caps edged the Ducks 2-1. As was pointed out on social media throughout, if this was a Stanley Cup finals preview, not a single hockey fan could complain.
The win marks the Caps 11th straight one-goal game and ups the season record to 49-13-4, 102 points. Braden Holtby (27 saves) earned his 41st win, tying himself (’14-’15) and Olie Kolzig (’99-’00) for most wins in a season.
It started out inauspicious for the Caps, as Ryan Getzalf put Anaheim up 1-0 exactly one minute into the contest. On a delayed penalty call to Alex Ovechkin for tripping Ryan Kesler behind the net, David Perron fed Getzlaf at the left point and when Dmitry Orlov was late to challenge, Getzlaf loaded up and fired stick-side past Holtby.
The Caps have allowed the first goal in 11 of their last 13 games.
The second period was scoreless, with both teams squandering a power play, and after two periods the shot were even at 18 apiece.
A mere 41 seconds into the third, the Caps tied it up. After a neutral zone turnover by the Ducks, Justin Williams drop passed to Evgeny Kuznetsov, who carried into the zone and after a nifty deke found Andre Burakovsky wide open in the slot. Burakovsky whipped it past John Gibson (31 saves) to knot it at one.
Mike Richards nearly won it near the end of regulation, but Gibson was able to clutch the shot under his left arm against his body. An entertaining overtime period followed, with the Caps enjoying 15 seconds of four-on-three, but the refs decided to even it back up and called Oshie for closing his hand on the puck.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday at the Los Angeles Kings at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.