If the Washington Capitals didn’t learn anything else last night, they should have learned this: make sure you win games in regulation or overtime because this shootout thing just ain’t working.
The Boston Bruins extended their winning streak in Washington to four last night with a 3-2 shootout victory at Verizon Center, keeping Washington’s perfect record intact. The Caps not only haven’t won a shootout this season, they haven’t even scored.
Center Patrice Bergeron whipped a shot through Olie Kolzig’s legs for what turned out to be the winning margin. He was the second and last Boston shooter, doing his thing after Marco Sturm’s shot was stopped by Kolzig.
In order, Alexander Semin, Alex Ovechkin and Matt Pettinger tried and failed for Washington, with goalie Tim Thomas stopping the shots that didn’t miss entirely. The Caps are 0-for-10 in shootouts this season. Three of the four losses have come on the road.
“We have lots of chances, but we didn’t score,” said Ovechkin. The shootout, the left wing said, “is like the lottery — sometimes you score, sometimes not. Right now I’m not having any luck on the penalty shot.”
Ovechkin, who broke in last season as a rookie and was deadly at first in shootout situations, is now 6-for-17 in sudden death chances.
“It came down to a shootout, and that’s what hockey wants,” said Caps coach Glen Hanlon, who is probably not a fan of the game-deciding device. “We have what we feel are [shooters] as good as anybody in the league. It’s just a matter of time.”
Boston zipped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 14 minutes before the Caps rallied to tie, scoring shorthanded late in the first and on a power play in the second. Washington had a handful of excellent chances in the second, but Thomas was able to thwart all but one attempt.
“They shoot from some funny places,” the goalie said, “so you’ve got to be on your toes. They shoot it through people. I was fighting to find the pucks from the points; fortunately I was able to.”
Washington’s best chance to win came 2:20 into overtime when Ovechkin blasted a shot from the outside edge of the left circle. Thomas got a piece of the puck, but it took a funny bounce, landing behind him and being swept away.
Phil Kessel scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box in the first, and defenseman Brad Stuart added a seeing-eye goal later in the period. Pettinger, who had five shorthanded goals last season, had another last night before Dainius Zubrus ripped a one-timer through Thomas in the second period on a power play. It was Zubrus’ 12th of the season; he didn’t get his 12th last season until the end of January.
Zubrus left the game midway through the third period and did not return after colliding with 6-foot-9, 260-pound Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara. The Caps had no comment on any possible injury.
Notes — Caps right wing Richard Zednik missed his sixth straight game with a wrist injury. He is listed as day-to-day but might be ready this week. When he does return, there will have to be a personnel move because the club will be one man over the 23-player limit. …
Forwards Kris Beech and Brooks Laich both missed their sixth straight as healthy scratches; defenseman Bryan Muir was out for the third straight time.