In a game highlighted by great goaltending…by each team, only one power play…by each team and one fluky goal…by each team, the Washington Capitals lost 2-1 in a shootout (1 to nothing) to the San Jose Sharks.
While the Capitals were disappointed (to some degree) that they lost, they were happy with their play.
“It was a good game. Good hockey game. I thought the whole team played very well. Hard fought game; great pace to it,” Coach Adam Oates.
“[We] played better tonight. Better puck movement, better puck possession, we moved the puck well,” Nicklas Backstrom.
“We made good decisions. I think our energy level is pretty good,” Brooks Laich said.
Part of the Capitals satisfaction with the shootout loss centered around respect and admiration for the San Jose Sharks.
“[San Jose Sharks] are a very good hockey team. They have been for a long time. They are a team on autopilot; that’s what I told the guys. They have been together a long time, same coach for a long time, same system; they know what they are doing. They show up; they are not intimidated on the road,” Coach Oates said.
“It was a good test for us. A good team. They’ve been together for a long time,” Alex Ovechkin said.
The San Jose Sharks currently rank 2nd place in the Pacific Division.
The Capitals season has largely been decided by close games. Nine of their last eleven goals have been decided by one goal (3 wins, 3 losses, 5 OT losses). The have played in a league high 14 shootouts (8 wins, 6 losses). Their goal differential is fittingly even (137 goals for and 137 goals against).
Philipp Grubauer may have played his best game of the season. 28 saves on 29 shots. The only goal he surrendered was a fluky high deflection. He is now 6-2-5, 2.06 GAA and .936 save percentage. If Grubauer had played enough to qualify, his save percentage would be second to Ben Bishop of Tampa Bay.
Alex Ovechkin scored the only goal for the Capitals. It was sharp angle one-timer from a Karl Alzner pass. The shot was so difficult that after the game, Coach Oates said he was angry at Alzner for making the pass.