The Washington Times - January 24, 2012, 08:35AM

Brooks Laich wasn’t tired. The two-way forward played 27:57 and took 39 faceoffs in the Washington Capitals’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

“I didn’t know until after the game that I had played that much and that there were actually that many face-offs,” Laich said.

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For the record, his shoulders were fine despite what he thought was a career high in faceoffs. Laich went 17-for-39 (44 percent).

The ice time didn’t appear to be an issue, either.

“I’ve played more than that in playoffs, but that’s been in double overtime,” Laich said. “I think that’s the most I’ve played in a regular-season game.”

He’s right. The 27:57 is by far a regular-season high for Laich. The only time he played more in any NHL game was 30:32 in Game 4 of the New York Rangers series last season. Jason Chimera won that in double OT.

Sunday, with Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Marcus Johansson (illness) out, Laich stepped up with some big, valuable minutes and earned praise from coach Dale Hunter.

“He’s a good skater and he competes and he can play good defense and create offense. So he’s a good two-way center for me,” Hunter said. “With the centermen going down the way they are, it falls down on other people and it fell on him pretty hard, I think.”