He missed high and wide, and the puck slammed against the glass and ricocheted around to give Carolina an easy three-on-one rush. Washington goalie Dan Ellis looked helpless as Kris Versteeg scored, and in just 57 seconds, Washington’s first taste of three-on-three overtime in a game was over.
“It was quick,” winger T.J. Oshie said with a laugh. “I think that was a good lesson there. Obviously, in a position like that, kind of a semi-breakaway for Kuzy there, you’ve got to shoot. I think something that a lot of teams will learn is high and wide doesn’t really work too well.”
The Capitals will again play a three-on-three overtime period regardless of the regulation score at Boston on Tuesday. These games are intended to give teams extra practice at the three-on-three format, but the overtime periods may not last very long. As Washington learned on Monday night, one missed shot could end it.
“If you miss the net, they’re going to get a good chance,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “That was one of the things we talked about during the week. You want to change up possession, you look to a quick counter, you’ve got to hit the net.
“Kuzy had a good look, but he missed it by a lot and it comes right back. The thing we’re learning is that you’re going to get a good chance, and if you don’t score on a good chance, you’re going to give up an even bigger and better chance going the other way. That was a pretty good illustration.”
The Capitals dispatched Alex Ovechkin and defenseman Matt Niskanen to go along with Kuznetsov, an expected combination of skill and speed. Winger Stanislav Galiev, who played in AHL three-on-three overtime situations in Hershey last season, said hard missed shots that rebounded wildly led to breakaways that were challenging to stop.
With a new group of players in Boston for their second preseason game, the Capitals will try not to make the same mistake again.
“You’ve got to hit the net, because it’s up and down game,” Galiev said. “If you miss the net, you’ve got to go back check. It probably cost us a couple games last season. Just more space for skill guys and you’ve got to be patient on defense. If you have a chance for offense, you’ve got to take off.”