The result was anything but satisfying for Brooks Laich, yet out of Washington's 2-1 overtime loss to Anaheim came a resurgent performance from the left wing whose passion and professionalism have made him among the most respected members of the team and often its spokesman in times of distress.
Laich scored the Capitals' only goal, his eighth of the season, and narrowly missed another in the first period when his bid trickled past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller before Ryan Getzlaf alertly brushed the puck away just as it was getting ready to cross the line. Laich finished with a game-high seven shots and won all six of his faceoffs in 22 minutes 20 seconds of ice time. It was the most time he has logged since Nov. 12, a span of 12 games.
"I have one in the first period that gets to the goal line and doesn't go in," Laich said of his near miss that was one of many for the team in its seventh consecutive loss. "When they're not going in, they're not going in."
That had been the case for Laich even before last night. He had gone six straight games without a goal and had scored once in his previous eight.
Laich's goal came at 14:22 of the first period after he set up shop in front of the crease. Defenseman John Carlson sent a puck at Hiller, who got in the way but was unable to prevent a rebound. Laich located the loose puck and sent a backhanded shot through congestion and past Hiller for a 1-0 lead that had the Verizon Center crowd thinking perhaps this would be the night Washington finally would re-emerge in the win column.
Misfortune instead continued to plague the Capitals, although despite the loss, there was unanimity in the locker room that their level of play was deserving of a win.
"I thought our team did a great job without the puck, and if we play like that, we're going to get rewarded for it," Laich said. "I thought the game plan that the coaches set for us was done very well."