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Capitals vs. Ducks Recap: Caps Top Ducks in Shootout, 3-2

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With both teams starting backup goaltenders, fans might have anticipated a high-scoring game. It did not turn out that way as the teams went the full 65 minutes before Caps' goalie Philipp Grubauer shot the Ducks down in the shootout.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Anaheim scored first, the Caps scored twice on goals by Jason Chimera and John Carlson to take a lead.  Corey Perry forced overtime.  After a scoreless extra frame, it went to the freestyle competition where Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom scored, and Philipp Grubauer stopped two of three Ducks' offerings for the win.

Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: The re-tooled second line.  With Andre Burakovsky sent to Hershey, Barry Trotz put Evgeny Kuznetsov, Troy Brouwer, and Jason Chimera together.  For their first time assembled for a lengthy period, they meshed well.  Kuznetsov looked very confident in the middle, and Chimera had more jump than we've seen recently.
  • Minus:Follow-up chances.  The Caps had a respectable number of shots on goal (34), but there were few of the second chance variety.

Ten more notes on the game:

  • Mike Green was a late scratch after taking warm-ups.  Cameron Schilling got the call, appearing in his first game of the season and third in his career in the Caps organization.  It was a first for Schilling in one sense.  When the Caps scored in the second period, Schilling would be denied a third consecutive game played in which the Caps were shut out.  In his debut in 2012-2013 the Caps were blanked by the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-0.  In his only appearance in 2013-2014, the Bruins shutout the Caps, 3-0.
  • The Caps were slow out of the gate, out-shot in the first period by a 10-6 margin and out-attempted, 24-13.  Three of the Caps' shots on goal came from defensemen; Alex Ovechkin had none of them (one attempt: blocked).  They clawed back even in shot attempts through two periods (36-36) after taking a 23-12 edge in the period and took a shots on goal edge (18-17).  Ovechkin had four more attempts blocked but did manage to get one on goal.
  • In the end, though, the Caps outshot the Ducks, 28-15 over the last two periods and overtime.  It was worse than that for the Ducks.  After recording 24 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes, they totaled only 27 over the last 45 minutes of the game.
  • When Jason Chimera scored the Caps' first goal, finishing off a two-on-none break with Evgeny Kuznetsov, it was his first goal in nine games.  The play was made by a diving Troy Brouwer who laid out and pulled the puck back into the offensive zone inches from it clearing the blue line.  For Kuznetsov, the "Honest Abe" winner, it was his third straight game with points and made it five games in his last seven (2-5-7).
  • Philipp Grubauer got his first start of the season with the big club and acquitted himself well (until he was taken advantage of on Corey Perry's bank shot off his left skate for Anaheim's second goal).  He stopped 23 of 25 shots.
  • The Caps held the Ducks without a shot on goal from the 10:25 mark until the 7:42 mark of the third period, a span of 17:17.
  • John Carlson's goal made it 21 games out of 23 in which the Caps got at least one point from a defenseman.
  • The Caps won their second straight game when allowing the game's first goal.  That makes a total of three this season, tying them with Buffalo and Carolina for 28th place in wins when allowing the first goal.  Hey, it's progress.
  • For the second straight game the Caps benefitted from just one power play.  Oddly enough, it is not the first time that happened this season.  The Caps had one power play in consecutive games against the Colorado Avalanche and the Buffalo Sabres on November 20th and 22nd.
  • With Mike Green out and a rookie (Schilling) in the lineup, someone had to step up and take a heavy minutes load.  That somebody would be Matt Niskanen, who finished with 28:51 in ice time, more than a minute more than his highest ice time total this season (27:29 against Florida on October 28th).

And now, this...

Game highlights: