Outshot 12 to 5 after one period. Outshot 22 to 14 after two. Trailing 2 to 1 with three minutes to go. Killing a power play incurred with less than a minute left in regulation. As Coach Adam Oates explained, “[the Capitals] wore them down,” and defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout. The Capitals have won four in a row.
Here are the “snapshots” I would have taken if I were rink side with the photographers (instead of in the press box):
Snapshot 1: Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots, including 4 shots on the final power play that straddled the end of regulation and the beginning of overtime. He also stopped all three shots in the shootout to earn the victory. Holtby is now 7 and 2 in his last 9 starts.
Snapshot 2: Marcus Johansson tied the game with three minutes left in regulation in an awkward goal. Tom Wilson passed to Johansson who shot in the general direction of both the net and teammate Brooks Laich. The puck deflected off of defender Nate Prosser into the goal. When asked after the game if it was a shot or a pass, Johansson explained that it was “kind of a shot pass.” “[With Laich in front,] there was a chance it was going to go in.”
Johansson played on the Laich-Troy Brouwer line instead of with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The line had 7 shots (Johansson 3, Brouwer 3 and Laich 1).
Snapshot 3: Martin Erat took Johansson’s place on the top line of Ovechkin and Backstrom. The line was inconsistent. Ovechkin (5) and Backstrom (4) took plenty of shots (Erat had none). But they had trouble getting and keeping the puck in the offensive zone at times. They did register 8 hits Ovechkin (3), Erat (3) and Backstrom (2). No other line had more than 3 hits.
Snapshot 4: Wilson had another strong game in six and one-half minutes of playing time. He was part of two of the best scoring chances in the second period. With four minutes left, he was stopped by a glove save on a breakaway. Three minutes later, he passed to Michael Latta, who was stopped at close range.
Snapshot 5: Ovechkin scored a power play goal in the first period. Certainly a familiar snapshot. The goal was his league-leading 7th power play goal in the first 16 Capitals games (Ovechkin missed two due to injury). If you extrapolate to a full 82 game season, Ovechkin would have 38 power play goals. The NHL record is 34 by Tim Kerr in the 1985-86 season. It is a little early to speculate.
The Capitals went 2 for 3 on the penalty kill and continue to lead the NHL at 90.3% (95.3% in their last 11 games). According to Holtby, “[this season,] we have relied in the power play to win games. Tonight we had to rely on the PK.”
The Capitals went 1 for 4 on the power play and continue to lead the NHL at 28.1% (7 power-play goals in their last four games).