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Capitals @ Hurricanes Recap: Caps Carry Canes to Shootout but Fall, 3-2

Washington Capitals v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

The Washington Capitals wrapped up their four-game road trip with a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina, for a date with the Carolina Hurricanes. Missing no fewer than six starters (Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, Carl Hagelin, Connor Brown, John Carlson, and T.J. Oshie), it was a tall order to beat a strong Carolina team on their rink. The Caps put forth a fine effort to force extra time before falling in a shootout, 3-2

Here’s Monday night’s Plus/Minus:

Plus: The compete level for the Caps. For a team missing six starters, some of the other starters playing with different linemates and defensive partners, and others stepping in after long absences from game action, it was quite an effort. But if not for the superb effort of goalie Darcy Kuemper, this would not have been a close game in the third period.

Minus: Too many penalties taken. For a team missing assets, going shorthanded five times in regulation and another in overtime was too many.

A baker’s dozen notes on the game:

  • The game started with a fast pace, the teams scurrying back and forth until Aliaksei Protas was whistled for tripping at the 3:15 mark. Carolina converted on the man advantage, moving the puck smartly in the offensive zone, getting the puck to Brent Burns at the left point. His drive was redirected by Stefan Noessen past the blocker of goalie Darcy Kuemper, and it was 1-0, Carolina, 4:27 into the period.
  • Washington went on the power play for the first time 13:10 into the period when Brett Pesce was sent off for delay of game-puck over glass. It was Sebastian Aho who had the best chance in the first minute of the man advantage when he took a loose puck from the defensive blue line and out-skated the defense on what became a breakaway, but Kuemper cut off the angle at the left post and steered the puck out of trouble. The Caps managed one shot on goal but could not convert.
  • Washington went back on the man advantage shortly after the first power play expired when Martin Fehervary was checked illegally to the head by Noesen at 16:02 of the period. The Caps went 0-for-2 on the power play, though, failing to record a shot on goal. That would be the last of the power play opportunities for the period, and the teams went to the first intermission with the home team up, 1-0.
  • First period odds and ends… Carolina out-shot the Caps, 11-5, and out-attempted them, 24-10… of the Caps’ five shots on goal, three came from defensemen (Nick Jensen, Dmitry Orlov, Martin Fehervary)… Caps had nine blocked shots to two for the Hurricanes… Caps were 10-for-23 on faceoffs (43.5 percent); no Capital was over 50 percent… Alex Ovechkin led the team with 7:48 in ice time/eight shifts; Connor McMichael skated five shifts and 3:09.
  • The Caps tied the game early in the second when Nick Jensen wrong-footed a shot from the left point that handcuffed goalie Frederick Andersen. The puck popped in the air and fell to the right of Andersen, who could not locate it. Dylan Strome pounced on the loose puck before Aho could swipe it away and snapped it to the roof of the net to make it 1-1, 1:23 into the period.
  • Washington went a man short 4:01 into the period when Nic Dowd was caught for interference, giving Carolina their second power play of the game. Carolina had two shots on goal but could not convert. Shortly thereafter, it was the Caps back to the power play when Pesce was given two minutes for interference at 7:39 of the period. Alex Ovechkin scored on the power play at 8:57 when he one-timed a pass from Erik Gustafsson past Andersen on the short side to make it 2-1, Capitals.
  • The exchange of power plays continued when Marcus Johansson flipped Pesce in neutral ice, going off for tripping at 10:50 of the period. Carolina had one shot on goal but were stymied by the Caps to maintain the 2-1 margin for Washington. Although they did not convert the power play, Carolina did tie the game late in the period when Martin Necas spun at the right point and snapped a harmless looking shot that snaked its way through a maze of bodies and squirted out the right of Kuemper where Andrei Svechnikov was waiting. He had an open net at which to shoot and did not waste the chance, tying the game, 2-2, at the 15:42 mark.
  • Carolina went back to the power play with less than two minutes in the period when Ovechkin, trying to chase down a loose puck to avoid icing, slashed Pesce. Carolina did not convert, but 23 seconds of the man advantage would carry over into the third period, the second frame ending tied, 2-2.
  • Second Period odds and ends… The Caps out-shot Carolina, 7-6 in the period; Carolina out-attempted the Caps, 21-12… Martin Fehervary led the Caps with four shots on goal through 40 minutes… Matt Irwin was credited with four hits through two periods… the Caps had an 18-5 edge in blocked shots through two periods… Nick Jensen had 14:57 in ice time through two periods; Connor McMichael had 4:32.
  • Carolina went down a man when Aho tripped Dylan Strome at 2:09 of the period. Evgeny Kuznetsov had a glorious chance for a one timer at a wide open net with Andersen on the other side of the crease, but Jaccob Slavin saved Carolina’s bacon with a sliding block. The Caps were held without a shot on goal, and the game continued tied, 2-2.
  • The teams took coincidental minors 8:11 into the period when Kuemper was called for interference for the Caps, and Martin Necas was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct-embellishment for Carolina. At 15:10 the teams once more took coincidental penalties, Nic Dowd going off for unsportsmanlike conduct-embellishment for the Caps, and Paul Stastny going off for interference for the ‘Canes. Carolina got one last chance on the man advanage with 1:55 left when Marcus Johansson was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Carolina did not convert in the last 1:55 of regulation, the teams going to overtime with five seconds left on the Johansson minor.
  • The Caps went shorthanded for a sixth time in the game when Lars Eller was sent off at 2:09 of overtime on a tripping call. Washington killed off the penalty, and the teams went to the shootout, the first of the season for the Caps.
  • The Caps got a goal in the shootout by Evgeny Kuznetsov, but Carolina scored twice to earn the extra point in a 3-2 win.

It was quite an effort for the depleted Caps, earning a gritty standings point. The Caps will return home on Tuesday night to complete the back-to-back set of games against the Vegas Golden Knights. And now, a little something to top off Hockey Night on Hallowe’en...