The Capitals ended their stretch of four consecutive road games with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Monday night. Darcy Kuemper shined, again, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced (.943%) in the loss.
LINES AND PAIRS
With the absences of T.J. Oshie and John Carlson, the Capitals made a few tweaks to the starting lines and pairs. Connor McMichael replaced T.J. Oshie and Matt Irwin replaced John Carlson.
Alex Ovechkin — Dylan Strome — Conor Sheary
Connor McMichael — Evgeny Kuznetsov – Marcus Johansson
Aliaksei Protas — Lars Eller — Anthony Mantha
Beck Malenstyn — Nic Dowd — Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Martin Fehervary — Nick Jensen
Erik Gustafsson — Matt Irwin
Darcy Kuemper got the start in goal for the Capitals. Frederik Andersen got the nod for the Canes.
The Hurricanes struck first with a power play goal early in the first period. The shot was deflected, giving Kuemper no chance at making the save.
The Capitals had two power plays of their own in the first frame. The first man advantage was squandered trying to setup in the zone, which they finally accomplished with 15 seconds remaining in the power play. The second power play was a little better, setting up in the zone with 40 seconds remaining, but they were unable to convert.
Hurricanes led 1-0 after 20. The Canes gained an edge in possession around the 12 min mark. They led in shots on goal (SOG) 11-5 and 5v5 shot attempts, 17-8. However, scoring chances were tied 5-5, with the Capitals leading in high-danger chances, 3-1 and xGF .38 to .22. Canes led faceoffs 57-43%.
The Capitals tied the game less than two minutes into the middle frame with a gritty goal by Dylan Strome.
The Capitals had their third power play midway through the middle fram, and this time they converted, with Alex Ovechkin denting the twine. The Canes had two man-advantages in the middle frame but came up empty on both.
The Canes tied the game late in the period on a shot from the point that was redirected for the score. Again, little that Kuemper could do to make the stop. The Canes had the majority of a second power play in the waning moments of the period but we’re unable to convert.
The game was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. It was a fairly even period, with the Caps leading in SOG 7-6 (Canes lead 17-12 after 40 mins.) Caps led in 5v5 shot attempts 10-9. Scoring chances were tied 3-3 and high-danger chances 2-2. Caps lead in xGF .86 to .71. Canes lead faceoffs 55-45%.
The Capitals extinguished the remainder of the Canes power play, then followed with a power play of their own, but this was more like the Capitals’ first two man advantages, with very little zone time.
There were two 4-on-4 situations that followed penalties and embellishments of penalties on both sides, but no damages were done by either side.
Marcus Johansson was called for tripping with 1:55 remaining in regulation, but the Capitals penalty kill survived a heavy barrage of chances by the Canes, sending the game to overtime.
Lars Eller was called for tripping midway through the extra frame, but the Capitals penalty kill shut it down. The extra period would go scoreless.
The Canes won it in the shootout. Kuznetsov scored in the shootout. Ovechkin and Strome did not.
The Hurricanes ended up leading in shots on goal 35-20. Hard to win many games like that, but the Capitals have found a way in the past, typically because of Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren.
The Capitals were 1 for 4 and the Hurricanes 1 for 6 on the power play. The Capitals penalty kill and Darcy Kuemper earned the point for the Capitals on this night.
Carolina won the battle at the dot, 55-45%.
The Capitals top line did very well on Monday night, with all three players well over the 50% threshold for expected goals for percentage. Evgeny Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansen and Connor McMichael’s line were by far the worst of the four lines.
xGF% at 5v5 for season to date. Last update, Anthony Mantha was the only player over 50%. Now six players are above the threshold. Some improving, some….not so much.
- Darcy Kuemper turned in another gem, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced for a .943 game save percentage. Kuemper stopped 10 of 12 high-danger chances. He had an expected goals against of 4.10 for a goals differential of +2.10. Both of Kuemper’s goals were redirected, giving him very little chance to make a stop.
Connor McMichael had a team low 6:53 of time on ice, and a team low expected goals for percentage of 3.18%. It’s likely a trip to Hershey is coming for McMichael, so that he can restore his confidence and his game.
- Nic Dowd led all Capitals skaters in hits with 6.
The Capitals, now 5-4-1, get right back to work Tuesday night when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena.
By Jon Sorensen