This game slipped through the Capitals’ grasp within a span of 12 seconds. A few seconds that included an unexpected broken-stick call on Brooks Laich, a six-on-three power play for the Winnipeg Jets and a shot from the red line that redirected off Karl Alzner then found its way into the net.
Those 12 seconds were all the Jets needed to force overtime and serve as a catalyst for a 3-2 shootout win at Verizon Center on Thursday night.
It was a stunning turnaround after the Capitals seized a two-goal lead in the third period, but relinquishing that advantage ultimately cost them an important point in the tight Eastern Conference standings. (More on Laich’s penalty and Dustin Byfuglien’s goal that went off Alzner tomorrow, which is an off day for the Capitals).
“Right now we’re not OK with just one point,” Troy Brouwer said. “We feel two should’ve been ours and they should’ve been [leaving] with none. That’s hockey, I guess. It’s how things happen. We’ve just got to try and make sure that we’re getting points and when we have leads, we’ve got to protect those leads.”
Florida beat Los Angeles, 3-1, which tied the Capitals and Panthers with 61 points atop the Southeast. Given that the Panthers have a game in hand, though, they claim the top spot for the time being. Ottawa’s 4-3 win over Nashville then pushed the Capitals further down into ninth place.
Alzner acknowledged that taking a two-goal lead so late in a contest can lead to a costly lapse, and that in the Capitals’ case, it resulted in untimely penalty trouble.
“That’s the way it happens,” Alzner said. “You get those two goals, you finally take a little bit of a breath that you finally scored a goal and that you’re up with not too much time left. But it isn’t over until it’s over. That’s proof tonight.”