Canes beat Caps 3-2 in shootout

Canes beat Caps 3-2 in shootout

The Washington Capitals, decimated, wrapped up their road trip against the scary Carolina Hurricanes. And despite a dozen reasons why it could have been a slog, this was a really good and fun hockey game!

Stefan Noesen deflected Brent Burns point shot to make it 1-0 early, but Dylan Strome tied it up at the top of the second period, working hard off a rebound to beat Freddy Andersen. Alex Ovechkin got an Ovi Shot from the Ovi Spot – but assisted by Erik Gustaffson – to give the Caps a short-lived lead. Andrei Svechnikov tied it up with a very lucky bounce. Darcy Kuemper went super-saiyan to keep the Caps alive into overtime.

The Caps survived a Lars Eller penalty in overtime, so we got the shootout. For the first time this season, here are your shootout bullets:

  • Burns put the cookie in the basket
  • Kuznetsov put the biscuit in the basket (very slowly)
  • Svechnikov put the biscuit in the basket
  • Ovechkin did not put the biscuit in the basket
  • Necas did not put the biscuit in the basket
  • Strome did not put the biscuit in the basket

Caps lose 3-2 in the shootout.

  • The Capitals were very shorthanded. Backstrom, Wilson, Brown, Oshie, and Carlson were all missing – plus Hagelin if we’re still doing that charade. All that plus an opponent good at forechecking, I had low expectations for the game.
  • And for a while it looked justified. The Caps got massively outshot in the first period (18 attempts to 6), but the shot quality painted a much more even picture. The Caps continued to lose on volume but win on quality in the second and third, even as momentum swung towards the Canes after Johansson’s very uncharacteristic submariner check in the second.
  • Speaking of: Marcus Johansson had an odd game. Usually the skeleton key to the offensive zone, he made some curious decisions in neutral, one really bad penalty late, and a couple poorly executed drop passes. I’m worried he might be receiving …. coaching. I don’t want Marcus coached. He needs to be like a feral child out there. A polite, feral child. This was not his night.
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s power-play goal, the 785th of his career, was set up by Erik Gustafsson. I’m saying this only to stoke all you angry commenters.
  • Meanwhile at five-on-five, Ovechkin’s top line (with Strome and Sheary) fared really well against their main matchup of Pesce and Skjei. We at RMNB have not been enamored with the various Ovechkin lines so far, but this was a good showing.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov is still without a goal this season. He came very close here:
  • Okay, eternal optimist take: what if all these injuries result in the Caps’ aged core being unseasonably rested come April? Just file that away. I dunno.
  • Connor McMichael isn’t going to break a game open, but I think it’s interesting to track his ice time because of what it implies about the team. In his second appearance, CMCM got 6:53. He was stapled to the bench after a big whiff in the third that led to an odd-man rush for the Canes. Exactly like a midcentury zoo elephant in a non-stimulating habitat, the low ice time is clearly disturbing him.
  • Darcy Kuemper: good. I was talking with Micah McCurdy of Hockeyviz about Washington’s upside this season, and he said goaltending is bigger chunk of it. I hope he’s right.

I enjoyed this hockey game!

No rest for the bedraggled Caps. They come back to DC to host Vegas tomorrow.

Headline picture: @real_jon_c

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