Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena:
How it happened: The Caps were 8 minutes away from suffering a crushing regulation loss when Jay Beagle drew a slashing penalty on Calle Jarnkrok. The ensuing power play led to Nicklas Backstrom’s game-tying goal with 7:40 remaining. Troy Brouwer also netted a pair of goals for the Capitals, one at even strength and one on the power play. Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov rang a shot off the post in overtime and Nashville goalie Carter Hutton stopped Evgeny Kuznetsov, Mikhail Grabovski and Backstrom in the shootout.
What it means: With Detroit’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals are now one point behind eighth-place Columbus and three points behind the seventh-place Red Wings in the Eastern Conference standings. The Caps and Red Wings have seven games remaining; the Jackets have eight.
Projections anyone?: If it holds true the Capitals will need 92 points to make the playoffs, they will need 11 points in their final seven games [5-1-1].
Needing OT: The Capitals have had 26 of their 75 games decided in overtime or shootout. That’s more than any other team in the NHL. The Caps fell to 9-10 this season in shootouts.
Brouwer power: Brouwer set an NHL career high with his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season, the first at even strength from the side of the net, and the second on a backhander on the power play.
No D in Ovi: Alex Ovechkin was on the ice for two more even-strength goals, dropping him to an NHL-worst minus-34. He has not scored an even-strength goal in 15 games, the longest stretch of his career.
Grabo in, Brown down: Mikhail Grabovski [left ankle sprain] returned to the lineup and made through an entire game for the first time since Jan. 24. With Grabovski healthy the Caps send Chris Brown back to the AHL Hershey Bears.
[RELATED: Grabovski returns]
Line juggling: Adam Oates started the game with Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson; Nicklas Backtrom between Evgeny Kuznetsov and Troy Brouwer; Eric Fehr between Jason Chimera and Joel Ward; and Grabovski between Dustin Penner and Tom Wilson. By the third period Oates had Backstrom between Johansson and Brouwer; Beagle between Grabovski and Ovechkin; and Kuznetsov between Penner and Wilson.
Wey out: The Caps were forced to play most of the game without defenseman Patrick Wey, who was injured in a fight with Nasvhille enforcer Rich Clune with 8:16 gone on the first period. Clune, who entered the game with 291 career penalty minutes in the NHL, didn’t like a hit Wey put on him and dropped the gloves against the Caps’ inexperienced rookie. Tom Wilson spent the rest of the night looking to mix it up with Clune.
What’s ahead: After a weekend of back-to-back games, the Capitals have a scheduled day off on Monday. They are back in action Tuesday night at home against the Dallas Stars, who have won two in a row and are one point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.