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Caps vs. Coyotes Recap: Washington Claws All the Way Back, But Falls 4-3 in Shootout

The Washington Capitals erased a 3-goal deficit on Monday night, but still fell to the Arizona Coyotes in a shootout behind two unfavorable video reviews.

Arizona Coyotes v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals honored America’s armed forces during a Veterans’ Day tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. Would their bark be worse than their bite?

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: The Capitals fought all the way back from a 3-0 deficit early.

Minus: All good things must come to an end. The McRib. The Milky Way galaxy. This six-game win streak.

And now, this...

Ten more notes on the game:

1. The Washington Capitals came into Monday’s game rolling through the NHL like a buzzsaw lit on fire and pushed down a hill on shopping cart wheels. Looking for their seventh-straight win, could the Caps add to their league-leading 29 points by neutering the so-far better-than-expected Arizona Coyotes?

2. If Washington could do it, it would be once again with the services of forward Richard Panik, who had been sidelined for the last 10 games with an injury. Still without a point since joining the Caps on a 4-year, $2.8 million AAV deal this offseason, would the Slovak winger be a difference maker in DC?

3. In one poetic, there-is-a-season-turn-turn bit of chronological serendipity, a large figure from the Capitals’ past - ex-Penguins forward Phil Kessel - would take on a large figure of their future - goalie dauphin and netminder heir-apparent Ilya Samsonov. Could the Russian rookie keep his hot start cookin’?

4. It took nearly 20 minutes, but one team finally struck first, and unfortunately for fans of the good guys, it was Arizona. With Samsonov sprawling on his belly away from the safety of the blue ice like a wayward seal, Arizona’s Clayton Keller poked a puck under and through that trickled into the net, making it 1-0 Coyotes after one.

5. If the first period ended poorly for Caps fans, the second period managed to get off to an even worse start. Just 12 seconds into the frame, it appeared to all the world that Samsonov made a glove save on a Christian Fischer shot. But upon video review, referees determined that the puck had completely crossed the goal line inside Samsonov’s glove, and that the image below was sufficient, unquestionable proof. Ahem.....okay. It was 2-0 Arizona.

6. And just 30 seconds later, Arizona’s Michael Grabner got loose on a breakaway, beating Samsonov low to make it 3-0 Coyotes and adding a heaping helping of NaCl onto Washington’s wounds.

After the game, Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas said of the early second period onslaught, “They played pretty well, they played pretty hard. We’ve gotta do a better job to not allow that against teams.”

Radko Gudas addresses the media.
Jason Rogers

7. But the Capitals weren’t going down THAT easily. Halfway through the second frame, Jakub Vrana found a streaking Evgeny Kuznetsov on a center-lane charge, and sprung the Russian for a breakaway of his own. Kuzy went 5-hole on Antti Raanta to stop the bleeding and make it 3-1 Arizona after two.

8. To start the final twenty minutes, Kuzy just kept clawing. Just five minutes into the third, and gliding towards the corner of the ice at an impossible angle, Kuznetsov flicked an oh-so-casual little backhand netward, and it found the back of the naughty ol’ twine to bring Washington back within one, 3-2. Would the remaining fifteen revolutions of the clock be enough for the Capitals to knot it up?

9. WELL ON VETERANS’ DAY, REAL AMERICAN HERO T.J. OSHIE SAID “LEST WE FORGET” IN THE DYING SECONDS, stuffing home a rebound from just outside the crease with 86 ticks of the clock remaining, leveling the score and sending this contest TO OVERTIMEEEEEEE!!

In fact, the Capital One Arena faithful were so sure Kuznetsov had scored, they started throwing hats anyway! But the hats were fraudulent! Would that bad juju doom the Caps in the extra frame?

10. Well, it sure SEEMED like Washington had managed to do it! It appeared T.J. Oshie won it in OT for the Caps, but upon video review, he was ruled to have been offsides. The sirens and disco balls stopped, and the players came back on the ice. Video Review was 2-0 vs. the Caps tonight, and this one would require a shootout to settle.

I asked Oshie how difficult it is mentally to have to jump right back into the fight after the false catharsis of an apparent overturned victory.

T.J. Oshie after the game.
Jason Rogers

“We had a good shift right after that and we were buzzing around in their zone for a little while, y’know?” he told me. “It’s fine, you just go out there and try to do it again.”

But the remaining time ticked away, and in the skills contest, the Coyotes won the shootout 2-0, and the game 4-3.

Next up for Washington is the Flyers in Philadelphia on Wednesday.