RALEIGH — The Hurricanes extended their point streak to four games but were unable to pick up a win, losing in a shootout to the Capitals on Sunday at PNC Arena.
Sebastian Aho had Carolina’s lone goal — his team-leading 12th of the season — and Pyotr Kochetkov allowed just one goal for the third consecutive start. The Hurricanes are 16-12-3 on the season with 35 points, and their .565 point percentage sits sixth in the Metropolitan Division.
1. What was a tight-checking, hardly fought game turned into a snoozefest in overtime as the Capitals maintained possession and proceeded to … do nothing. Washington held the puck for nearly the entire 5 minutes of OT and managed one shot on goal — with 1 second left before the shootout.
“I mean, you have the puck possession, you can do whatever you want with the puck,” Aho said. “I don’t know how they ended up being with the puck, but that’s how it goes. Whoever has the puck controls the OT and controls the game anyway. So yeah, I don’t really have anything to comment on that.”
Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour suggested the Capitals just play to get to the shootout.
“They’re the one team that does that a lot,” he said. “Our games are not quite like that normally. If you watch overtime, I’d say almost every game that we’ve had have been really exciting overtimes and you wouldn’t want to change a thing. … That’s part of their strategy. They know the shootout’s a big deal to them, so they’re not too concerned if it goes there.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the lone goal in the shootout with his equally drab, slow-moving signature move.
“He’s the best one there is,” Brind’Amour said. “Gotta give him credit, tip your hat.”
2. The Hurricanes appeared to jump out to an early lead with a power play goal. With Capitals forward Nick Dowd in the box serving a double-minor for high-sticking Dmitry Orlov, Brady Skjei scored on a one-timer just before the first penalty expired.
But Stefan Noesen was in the crease and then shoved into Washington goalie Darcy Kuemper (28 saves) by defenseman Joel Edmundson, and the officials quickly met and ruled it no goal for goaltender interference.
Carolina’s power play was unable to convert the rest of the night, going 0 for 4.
“You gotta forget about it,” forward Seth Jarvis said of the called-off goal. “You’ve got to move on past it. We had plenty more power plays, plenty more chances and didn’t capitalize.”
3. The Hurricanes avoided a potentially catastrophic injury when captain Jordan Staal was hit in the head by the skate of Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary in the second period. Staal missed the final 12-plus minutes of the second period.
I saw Staal in the locker room following the game and he had a cut near the entrance of his ear canal but said he was OK.
“You see a guy coming off and blood coming out and everything,” Brind’Amour said, “you’re always, ‘That’s no good.’ But it was good to see him get back.”
Aho added, “Never wanna see anything like that.”
Orlov was also cut by the Dowd high stick in the first period and received stitches.
Number to know
13 — Consecutive games without a goal for Alex Ovechkin, who last scored on Nov. 18. It’s the longest drought of his career and not a good sign for a 38-year-old player who is 68 goals shy of breaking Wayne Gretzky’s record of 894 goals in a career.
Pyotr Kochetkov, Hurricanes goaltender — On a day when uncertainty reigned in the Carolina net, Kochetkov provided stability. The rookie goaltender stopped Ovechkin three times in the first period, denied Tom Wilson on a shorthanded breakaway and saved 20 of 21 shots, the third consecutive game he’s allowed just one goal.
“He was really good,” Brind’Amour said. “He had to make a couple big ones, and he did and allowed us to just keep playing and give us a great chance to win.”
Aho said, “He’s been good, real solid, and obviously we’re gonna need him moving forward.”
Martin Necas, Hurricanes forward — I feel like we’re beating a dead horse, but Necas was again victimized on Washington’s lone goal. After his pass into traffic was collected by Dylan Strome, Necas backpedaled into the defensive zone and drifted toward Ovechkin. The problem? Brent Burns already had Ovechkin marked. That left Fehervary alone to cruise into the slot, receive a pass from Wilson and snap a shot from between the hash marks past Kochetkov to tie the game 1-1 just past the midway point of regulation.
They said it
“It sucks we couldn’t bail him out in the shootout, but he did a fantastic job getting us there.”
— Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis on Pyotr Kochetkov’s performance