The Canes beat the Caps 3-2 in a shootout

The Washington Capitals, decimated, completed their road trip against the fearsome Carolina Hurricanes. And despite a dozen reasons why it could have been a slog, it 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 the game early in the second period, working hard on 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 matched it with a very lucky rebound. Darcy Kuemper went super-saiyan to keep the Caps alive in overtime.

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

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

The Caps lose 3-2 in a shootout.

  • The Capitals were heavily outnumbered. Backstrom, Wilson, Brown, Oshie and Carlson were all missing – plus Hagelin if we’re still doing this charade. All that plus a good forechecker, I had low expectations for the game.
  • And for a moment, it seemed justified. The Caps outgunned themselves massively in the first period (18 attempts to 6), but the quality of the shots painted a much more even picture. The Caps continued to lose volume but gain quality in the second and third, although the momentum swung to the Canes after Johansson’s highly unusual submariner control in the second.
  • Speaking of: Marcus Johansson had a weird game. Usually the skeleton key in the offensive zone, he made some curious neutral decisions, a really bad late penalty and a few poorly executed passes. I’m afraid he’ll get…. framing. I don’t want Marcus being coached. He must be like a wild child there. A polite and wild child. It was not his night.
  • Alex Ovechkin‘s power-play goal, the 785th of his career, was set up by Erik Gustafsson. I say this only to stir up all the angry commentators.
  • Meanwhile, at five-on-five, Ovechkin’s front line (featuring Strome and Sheary) fared very well against their main clash of Pesce and Skjei. We at RMNB haven’t been wowed by the various Ovechkin lines so far, but it’s been a good showing.
  • Yevgeny Kuznetsov is still scoreless this season. It came very close here:
  • Okay, eternal optimist: what if all those injuries cause the Caps’ aged core to rest uncharacteristically in April? Just classify that. I do not know.
  • Connor McMichael isn’t going to open a game, but I think it’s interesting to track his ice time because of what it means for the team. In his second appearance, CMCM got 6:53. He was pinned to the bench after a big puff in the third this led to a scramble for the Canes. Exactly like a mid-century zoo elephant in an unstimulating habitat, the low ice weather is clearly bothering it.
  • Darcy Kuemper: good. I was speaking with Hockeyviz’s Micah McCurdy about Washington’s upside this season, and he said goaltenders were a big part of it. I hope he is right.

I loved that hockey game!

No rest for the scruffy Caps. They’re coming back to DC to host Vegas tomorrow.

Main picture: @real_jon_c

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