Detroit — Two nights after earning an extra point in overtime with a victory, the Red Wings came out on the losing end against Washington.
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored at 45 seconds of overtime Wednesday giving the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the Red Wings.
With the new 3-on-3 overtime this season games can end quickly — and this one certainly did.
The Capitals gained possession when Pavel Datsyuk slipped near his blue line and Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen found Kuznetsov near the side boards. Kuznetsov made a sharp drive around Niklas Kronwall, drove to the net, and slipped the puck past goalie Petr Mrazek, disappointing the Joe Louis Arena crowd.
The Red Wings have lost five of their last seven games at home (2-4-1).
“We want to become a real good hockey team,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Right now we’ve been an average hockey team based on our record (9-8-2, 20 points). We have to find a way to win these games at home. We’ve made some progress but we have to continue to make a lot of progress.”
Dylan Larkin and Capitals forward Justin Williams (power play) traded first-period goals.
The Red Wings did some things well against Washington, but not enough.
“If we keep playing like this we will earn more points,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We really couldn’t find the back of the net. We created chances, we had a lot of shots, we were good in front of the net.”
The Capitals outshot the Red Wings 27-26.
Mrazek took a puck to the mask off a shot by defenseman John Carlson with 6:25 left in the game.
Mrazek was momentarily dazed as trainer Piet Van Zant came out to check him, but he quickly appeared back to normal.
“I just didn’t see the shot and it hit me on my shoulder,” Mrazek said. “I didn’t expect the shot. After that, it was good.”
Mrazek showed his sharpness with three minutes remaining by stopping Carlson alone between the hash marks.
A Red Wings too many men on the ice penalty gave Washington its sixth power play of the evening at 17:08 of the third period.
But for the fifth time, the Red Wings’ denied anything close to a goal.
Allowing the Capitals six power-play attempts was not something the Red Wings intended on doing.
“You can’t be in the box that much, especially against this team,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “They are really good and Petr played a really good game, he made some key saves. The penalty kill did a real good job at blocking shots, they did their job.
“But we can’t be in the box that much.”
Washington twice had better chances just past the midway mark of the third period, with Nicklas Backstrom twice finding scoring star Alex Ovechkin in prime scoring areas — in front of Mrazek, and open near the hash marks.
But both times Ovechkin missed just wide, maybe pressing a bit during an unlikely four-game goal-scoring drought (Ovechkin remains tied with Sergei Fedorov with 483 goals scored, the most among Russian players all-time in the NHL).
After recording 15 shots against the Red Wings last week, Ovechkin was held to six in this game.
“Just being aware on the ice, all five guys knowing where he is and trying to get in lanes when he shoots,” said DeKeyser, as to what the defensive plan is against Ovechkin. “I don’t think he was getting as many shots through as he wanted. Our guys were doing a good job getting in shooting lanes and blocking shots.”
Larkin opened the scoring with his sixth goal.
Larkin took a pass from Pavel Datsyuk and raced up ice. Larkin appeared to look for a pass momentarily, perhaps freezing goalie Braden Holtby, then lifted a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that beat Holtby at 2:48.
But after Larkin’s goal the Red Wings had little opportunity to generate momentum because they wound up spending so much time killing penalties.
Washington had four power plays in the first period and converted on their second chance.
With Larkin in the box for hooking, Williams tied the score at 1 at 10:54 with his fourth goal.
“We took too many penalties,” Blashill said. “You can’t have four in the first period. As the game went along, our penalty kill got better and better and we did a great job overall.”