The Caps came into this matinee tilt looking to build on early season success against opponents both stout and brittle. It was a topsy-turvy affair, with holes dug and climbed out of, with lamps lit by faces fresh and familiar, but in the end the Flames took home a hard fought 4-3 victory in overtime.
Plus: Win or lose, it’s always a good time when one of the youngins is able to break into the goal column for the first time in his career. Bonus points to Marty for selecting a Foo Fighters jam as his goal song and getting the dulcet stylings of Dave Grohl pumping through Capital One Arena...as they should be.
Minus: In the first period the Caps gave up a goal at even strength, gave up a power play goal, and gave up a shorthanded. It was a spectacular contribution to the legend of their matinee sluggishness, and it continued to highlight special teams as an early-season area of concern.
And now, this.
- Evgeny Kuznetsov has been the headline story for the Caps four games through the season, with points in three of four games and eight total points coming into this one, and he nearly made it points in four of five before this tilt was three minutes old, but rang iron on a clean break. He’d have to wait until later to stay hot...
- After the Caps squandered a power play opportunity, Garnet Hathaway took a roughing penalty and the Flames opened the scoring with Andrew Mangiapane cleaning up some loose change down low. This created a game stat that the Capitals had not yet played during on the season: trailing.
- And it only took the Flames 90 seconds to dent the twine again, this time after winning a few loose pucks in the offensive zone and with Johnny Gaudreau ultimately finding Elias Lindholm atop the circles for a clean look and getting the better of the Caps’ top line.
- The Flames gave the Caps a chance to get back into this one when Juuso Kalimaki closed his hand over the puck to send the Caps back to the powerplay. The puck ended up in the net, but the wrong net, as Elias Lindholm won a puck in none-too-flattering fashion for John Carlson, and finished the job after getting Vitek Vanecek to hit the deck early. That capped a period that saw the Capitals relinquish a powerplay goal, a 5v5 goal, and a shorthanded goal. Not great.
- While the 3-0 score after the first period wasn’t the fault of Vanecek by any stretch of the imagination, the first-period-hook is a popular card for a coach to play to try to coax a better game out of his skaters. You’d have to say it worked pretty nicely this time.
- And it looked like it might work. After John Carlson quickly took a minor penalty to start the second period, things looked dire. But then Evgeny Kuznetsov ripped a puck off inside the blue line, and waltzed on it to trickle a puck past Dan Vladar. The goal pushed Kuznetsov past Kevin Hatcher and into 13th place on the Capitals all-time points list.
- Then, eight minutes into the period, Tom Wilson carried the puck into the zone trailed by Martin Fehervary and with Alex Ovechkin streaking on the opposite wing. Wilson dropped the puck to Fehervary who snuck one past Vladar blocker-side for his first NHL career goal.
- Alex Ovechkin, you might have heard of him, tied the game with two minutes left in the second on a vintage looking wrist shot from the circle off the rush. His fifth on the season, and in as many games. How you feeling, Gretz?
- After the second period fireworks, the third period stayed quiet and the scoreboard, and both teams took a standings point with them into overtime.
- In overtime, Elias Lindholm completed the hat trick to dish out the L to the good guys.
Up next for the Caps: a trip to the Nation’s Capital...the nation being Canada. Caps head to Ottawa for a Tuesday night tilt.