Washington Capitals slip past Detroit Red Wings in shootout

By Harvey Valentine, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 9, 2015 at 2:57 AM
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WASHINGTON -- The two hottest teams in the Eastern Conference met for the final time in the regular season Tuesday night, and it took a shootout to separate them.

Right winger T.J. Oshie and center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored shootout goals on Washington's first two attempts, and the Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2.

Oshie beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with a wrist shot to open the tiebreaking skills competition, and Kuznetsov used a deke to elude Howard on his turn.

Washington goalie Braden Holtby stopped centers Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Dutsyuk as the Capitals (19-5-2) won for the seventh time in their past eight games.

"We don't mind going (to the shootout) if we have to," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "Everybody talks about the shooters, but we've got a pretty good goaltender, and we feel very confident if we get to that point."

The Capitals tied it at 2 with 9:09 left in the third period during a goalmouth scramble on a power play. Left winger Alex Ovechkin poked the loose puck into the net for his 13th of the season.

Detroit finally got its first power play of the game during the overtime, giving the Red Wings a four-on-three advantage, but the Capitals killed it off.

"That was really huge," Trotz said. "They really didn't get a chance. Kudos to the guys that were out there. You know you're going to have to sacrifice, you know you're going to have to block shots."

Right winger Justin Williams also scored in regulation for Washington, and left winger Marcus Johansson had two assists. Holtby finished with 21 saves as Washington took the season series 2-1, with each game decided by one goal.

Left winger Henrik Zetterberg and right winger Tomas Jurco scored for Detroit (15-8-5), which has picked up at least a point in 11 consecutive games (7-0-4).

"We didn't skate well enough in the second. We didn't get enough puck pressure," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I don't think we managed our shifts well enough, so all in all, we can be better, but we found a way to get a point against a really good team on the road."

Howard finished with 38 saves.

"They throw a lot of pucks on net," Zetterberg said of Washington. "Howie played well tonight. Kept us in the game there."

The Capitals rallied to avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season.

Thanks in part to two power plays, Washington outshot Detroit 28-15 in the first two periods but trailed by a goal.

The Red Wings took a 2-1 lead at 3:16 of the second after Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov fanned on the puck behind the Capitals' net. Detroit center Joakim Andersson got the puck and fed in front to Turco, who was all alone and slid it past Holtby.

"They create a lot of speed from bringing five guys back in the zone and pushing forward that way," Holtby said. "It's fun hockey. Get two good teams together, and usually it results in good hockey."

It took Washington just 43 seconds to put a puck past Howard when the game began. Williams lunged for a rebound off a shot from Kuznetsov and poked it home for his eighth goal.

Detroit got the equalizer with 4:20 left in the first.

Center Dylan Larkin controlled the puck off a faceoff in the right circle and sent a perfect pass into the slot that Zetterberg redirected past Holtby.

NOTES: Capitals RW Justin Williams' first-period goal was his 600th NHL point. ... Detroit LW Drew Miller (broken jaw) missed his second consecutive game, and LW Teemu Pulkkinen (dislocated shoulder) missed his third straight. ... Red Wings D Jakub Kindl was a healthy scratch. ... Washington D Brooks Orpik (lower body) missed his 12th game, while LW Marcus Johansson (lower body) returned after missing one game. ... RW Stanislav Galiev, RW Chris Brown, and D Aaron Ness were healthy scratches for Washington. ... D Mike Green, who spent 10 seasons with the Capitals, played his first game at the Verizon Center as a member of the Red Wings. ... Detroit C Pavel Datsyuk played his 900th NHL game. ... C Nicklas Backstrom played his 600th game for the Capitals.

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