Second thoughts on Caps' shootout defeat

Second thoughts on Caps' shootout defeat
March 26, 2014, 12:15 pm
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Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals have a complete day off to ponder their strangely entertaining 5-4 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night at Verizon Center:

Kudos to Kuzzy: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Evgeny Kuznetsov’s game-tying shorthanded goal marked the first time a Capitals player scored his first NHL goal while shorthanded since Kevin Hatcher did it on April 7, 1985. “It was a big goal that actually got us a point,” Caps coach Adam Oates said. “It was a good play. We won a draw, Orly [Dmitry Orlov] makes a nice run up the ice, which gives us a chance to get the goalie out. We dumped it in, and then I’m sure they relaxed just enough; it’s a weird situation. Sometimes those goals go in. It was a big goal for him and us.”

Second first: Kuznetsov’s goal also marked the second consecutive game a Capitals player has scored his first NHL goal. Chris Brown scored his first NHL goal on Saturday at San Jose. He said he put his phone on airplane mode following the game and when he tried to turn his phone on it was backlogged with dozens of text messages. “It blew up,” he said. “Family, friends, old teammates. It was unbelievable.” The last time two Capitals players scored their first NHL goals in consecutive games was Oct. 9, 2003 [John Gruden] and Oct. 11, 2003 [Boyd Gordon]. Kuznetsov became the seventh Capitals player to score his first NHL goal this season, joining Connor Carrick, Tom Wilson, Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Julien Brouillette and Brown. The last time the Caps had seven players score their first NHL goal in a season was in 1989-90 [Robin Bawa, Brian Tutt, Chris Felix, Nick Kypreos, Rob Murray, Kent Paynter and Tim Bergland].

RELATED: [Caps' shootout loss could be costly in playoff push]

Ovi’s back: After netting just two goals in his previous nine games Alex Ovechkin scored two power-play goals, picked up an assist and registered seven shots against the Kings. Ovechkin has scored 22 power-play goals this season, tying the Capitals single-season record shared by him and Peter Bondra. Ovechkin has recorded three or more points in a game seven times this season, and leads the NHL in goals [48], power-play goals [22] and shots [358]. Despite his big night, Ovechkin was not happy with the way the Caps squandered a two-goal lead for the 13th time this season.“We made mistakes in our zone,” Ovechkin said. “We didn’t do the right thing and it almost cost us both points.”

Brouwer power: Despite leaving the game after having his head snapped back in a second period scuffle with Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, Troy Brouwer earned two assists, marking his seventh multi-point game of the season. He’s earned five points in his last five games.

Power-ful: The Caps netted two or more power-play goals in a game for the 19th time this season. It was the 13th time they scored two or more goals in the first period. Give credit to Jay Beagle and Joel Ward, who drew tripping penalties to put the Caps on those power plays. Nicklas Backstrom, who has six assists in his last six games, has assisted on 15 of Ovechkin’s 22 power-play goals this season. Meanwhile, 10 of John Carlson’s last 11 points have been on the man-advantage.

Hit man: Facing the team that has registered the second-most hits in the NHL, Caps rookie Tom Wilson recorded a career-high nine hits, the most by a Capitals player this season. Defenseman Karl Alzner led all skaters in blocked shots, including one in the final seconds of regulation during a penalty kill to secure a point for the Caps.

Look ahead: The Caps will return to the ice at Kettler at 10 a.m. for their annual team photo, then practice at 10:15. They’ll practice again at 10:30 on Friday and the Boston Bruins Saturday at 12:30 in Chinatown.