Detroit — The Red Wings' old late-period-goals bugaboo that helped derail them last season reared its ugly head against the Washington Capitals on Friday, and they lost a game they played well enough to win.
The Wings yielded a 1-0 lead at 19:10 of the second period and a 3-2 lead at 18:59 of the third.
Alex Ovechkin put it away with a power-play goal at 1:56 of overtime, after T.J. Oshie tied the score with 1:01 left in regulation.
Oshie’s goal came after a delay-of-game penalty to Dylan Larkin.
Ovechkin’s came after a tripping penalty to Trevor Daley, who may have saved a goal when he flailed at Ovechkin cutting across the crease in the slot and dumping the vaunted goal scorer.
Without the penalty, Ovechkin would have been alone point blank on Petr Mrazek.
Mrazek played well throughout the game. Tomas Tatar scored twice and Niklas Kronwall played his 800th game. But unhappiness prevailed in the dressing room afterwards.
“We lost the specialty-team battle, so that was the difference,” Jeff Blashill said, referring to one short-handed goal for both teams and the two power-play goals for the Capitals but just one for the Wings.
“So, we have to make sure we turn that edge,” he said, of the 1-for-5 performance on the power play.
Mrazek battled hard and well throughout, and gave signs of turning the corner on his game after a rough season last year, and then not being protected by the Red Wings during the expansion draft after he yielded the No. 1 position to Jimmy Howard.
“We wanted the two points,” Mrazek said. “We were very close, a minute left in the game. So a big disappointment.
“I felt pretty good. But like I said, if we left with the two points I’d be happy.”
A slap shot from close range by Ovechkin in the second period ricocheted and caught Mrazek in the chin. He went down, but popped up quickly.
The Capitals outshot the Red Wings in the scoreless first period, 14-13.
Darren Helm got the scoring going in the second.
He intercepted Ovechkin’s cross-ice passing attempt as the Capitals captain played on the left point on a power play.
Within a stride or two, Helm was gone up ice.
He fired a 20-foot wrist shot from the left wing, after entering the faceoff circle, and it beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby cleanly.
It was Helm’s first goal of the season and the Wings’ second short-handed goal of the season.
But with 50 seconds left in the period, Andre Burakovsky scored for the Capitals.
After a faceoff in the circle to the right of Mrazek, Burakovsky got the puck back at the point and fired a shot through a player or two screening the goalie and it went in.
Dmitri Orlov and Tom Wilson assisted.
The puck might have been deflected on the way in.
At 1:25 of the third the Capitals scored short-handed.
A blocked shot from the point wound up on Alex Chaisson’s stick and he lifted a high pass out of the zone that Jay Beagle swept up. He broke in on Mrazek on a breakaway and fired it by.
The Red Wings were down by one, but Tatar took care of that, tying the score at 2 on a wild goal.
With the puck on Dylan Larkin’s stick on the left wing near the blue line, he suddenly spun and fired a hard wrist pass down low in the left circle.
Waiting there, Tomas Tatar thrust out his stick and deflected the shot 20 feet, at a 45-degree angle, up over goalie Holtby’s left shoulder. Holtby, seeming as surprised as anyone, flailed with his catching glove, to no avail.
Then, at 12:45 of the third period and on the power play, Henrik Zetterberg sent another one of his fine passes across the front of the goal mouth to Tatar, low in the faceoff circle to the left of Holtby.
Tatar blasted a shot that beat the goalie cleanly after he tried to move quickly across the crease, tracking the pass.
It was 3-2 until Oshie scored 6:14 later on the power play to tie it, and Ovechkin added the winner.
The Capitals outshot the Red Wings 39-36 in regulation and 2-1 in overtime.
After the game, Zetterberg recognized Kronwall’s achievement.
“Amazing,” he said, of the 14-year veteran’s 800th game. “I know what he has gone through with his body. For him to still be playing here, at this level — he got an assist tonight, too — I think he’s been better and better in the more games we’ve played.
“So, good we’re all happy for him.”