Highlights: Sharks 2, Capitals 1 (SO)
Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Alex Ovechkin and Tyler Kennedy scored the only goals in regulation, sending it to a shootout, where the Sharks won on Patrick Marleau’s goal against Caps rookie goalie Philipp Grubauer, who stopped 28 shots.
What it means: The Capitals are now 1-15-2 in their last 18 games against the Sharks. Their overtime point gives them 52, one more than the Rangers, who lost to the Lightning. With the Flyers winning on Tuesday night, the Caps and Flyers each have 52 points to hold the second and third spots in the Metropolitan Division.
How they scored: It has become second nature to Caps fans, but the goal Alex Ovehckin scored in the second period to tie the score at 1-1 was breath-taking when you consider the angle of his shot, the strength and quickness of his release, and the placement of the puck just under the crossbar. It was simply a thing of beauty. The Sharks went ahead on a first-period goal by former Penguins irritant Tyler Kennedy, who deflected a pass from defenseman Jason Demers past Philipp Grubauer. Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov tried making a soft tap pass to exit the zone and it landed onto the stick of Demers, who fed a hard pass to Kennedy in the high slot.
Line switch: After a scoreless first period, Capitals coach Adam Oates tweaked his top two lines, switching left wings Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Laich was moved onto a line with Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Ovechkin, while Fehr moved into a unit with Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer.
No power: The Capitals were held without a power-play opportunity until 1:15 remained in regulation. The last time they went an entire game without a power play was
Save of the game: Take your pick. Antti Niemi robbed Eric Fehr all alone in front with 9:51 remaining in the third period, then shut the door on Mikhail Grabovski with about 5 minutes remaining. He also stopped Fehr in overtime and got some help from his left post when Fehr’s shot glanced off it in OT.
Fight of the game: Caps left wing Aaron Volpatti and Sharks right wing Mike Brown went at it at immediately after a faceoff midway through the second period. Both players connected with hard right hands and left the ice with bloodied faces. Brown went to the penalty box; Volpatti went to the trainer’s room for repairs. Both returned to the game.
Close call: The Sharks came within a fraction of a second of taking a 2-1 lead at the end of the second period. Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart stabbed the puck under Grubauer, but after a review it was determined the puck crossed the line after the game clock expired. The Caps had possession of the puck three times but failed to clear the zone each time on the 25-second sequence that led to the non-goal.
Bring on the Pens: Beginning Wednesday night in Pittsburgh the Caps will play eight of their next nine games on the road, where they are 8-8-4 this season. Who will be in goal for the Caps? If previous performance plays a role, it will be Michal Neuvirth, who is 2-0-2 against the Pens. Braden Holtby is 0-4, including a 4-0 loss on Nov. 20 in Washington. Then again, Grubauer looked very sharp against the Sharks and was not overworked.