- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) - The San Jose Sharks don’t have an explanation for their continued success against the Washington Capitals.

Coming off a shutout loss at home, they’re just happy to have the two points.

Patrick Marleau scored the only goal of the shootout, lifting the Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the Capitals on Tuesday night, improving San Jose to 17-1 against Washington in the teams’ last 18 meetings.

“There’s no special ingredient,” Marleau said. “I think it’s just one of those things that’s been going our way for a while. They’re always tight games so it could easily go both ways.”

Sharks coach Todd McClellan doesn’t see a pattern either.

“I don’t have an explanation. It’s always been different circumstances,” he said after winning the teams’ first meeting since Feb. 13, 2012.

After losing 1-0 to Boston on Saturday, the Sharks rebounded to take the opener of a three-game road trip.

“It’s nice to start off the trip the right way,” McClellan said. “It was kind of a back and forth affair. They had some momentum (early) but we gained it back.”

Antti Niemi stopped Eric Fehr, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom in the shootout after making 35 saves in regulation and overtime. Marleau tallied after Joe Pavelski missed on San Jose’s first shot.

Ovechkin scored his league-leading 33rd goal at 12:44 of the second period after Tyler Kennedy had tallied for San Jose at 13:30 of the first.

Rookie goaltender Philipp Grubauer, making his 12th start in 17 games, made 28 saves for Washington.

“I thought the whole team played very well,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “Hard fought game; great pace to it. Obviously, didn’t come through in the shootout, but it was a good hockey game.”

It was the Capitals‘ second straight 2-1 shootout loss and they have lost six of their last eight.

“It was a good test for us,” Ovechkin said of the Sharks. “A good team. They’ve been together for a long time. I think we had good chances to win the game in regular time, in the third period, but we got the point.”

The Capitals got their only power play with 1:15 left in regulation when Marleau was called for hooking, but Niemi made a pair of saves on Ovechkin in the final minute and San Jose killed off the remainder of the penalty in overtime.

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