SEATTLE – The Washington Capitals looked to be in control early Thursday night against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena, holding a two-goal lead as it kept a dangerous Kraken offense at bay. Then the wheels fell off, the home team found the equalizer in the final minutes of regulation and scored the game-winner seven seconds into overtime for a 3-2 Seattle victory.
Seattle rookie Matt Beniers scored the game-winner for the Kraken (15-5-3), which extended its winning streak to seven games. Beniers got a breakaway off the opening faceoff in the extra frame and beat goaltender Darcy Kuemper (22 saves) with ease.
“There’s nothing I’m happy about tonight,” Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette said after the game.
After Washington (10-11-4) went ahead 2-0, Kraken center Jayden Schwartz cut the Capitals’ lead to 2-1 with 6:32 left in the middle frame. His eighth goal of the season was a rebound goal in front of the crease.
Washington couldn’t get anything going offensively in the third period and was stuck in its defensive zone for a good portion of the frame.
The Kraken kept pushing and cashed in on Yanni Gourde’s equalizer from in front with 2:27 left in regulation. Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who spent the first six years of his career with Washington, finished with 21 saves.
“We just slow down everything and turned pucks a lot and I don’t think we deserved to win today,” Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary said. “We were getting worse and they played pretty hard and we just didn’t do our job.”
The Capitals are now 1-1-1 at the midway point of their season-high six-game road trip. Washington’s road trip continues Saturday in Calgary.
Fehervary gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 7:36 of the first period with his left point drive off a feed from Alex Ovechkin, who finished the contest with two assists. It was Fehervary’s second goal in as many games after the defenseman went the first 23 games of the season without a goal.
Conor Sheary doubled Washington’s lead at 14:04 of the first with his power-play goal in front. Sheary’s tally capped an exquisite passing sequence that started with Ovechkin’s cross-ice feed to Marcus Johansson, who dished it to Sheary in front for the score. Washington went 1 for 4 on the power play.
In a stark contrast to the opening two games of its road trip, Washington produced just 11 shots on goal through the first two periods and finished with 23 overall.
“Our game has definitely been trending upwards,” Kuemper said. “Tonight we might not have had our best stuff or all our legs but we got out to a lead and unfortunately couldn’t hang on for the two, but we got a point and we got to keep on collecting as many as we can.”
Here is what else to know about the Capitals’ loss:
Thursday marked the first time T.J. Oshie, who grew up in Everett, Wash., played an NHL game in his home state. Oshie missed last year’s visit to Seattle because of an injury.
Oshie played 10 years in the Seattle Junior Hockey Association, which counts OlympicView Arena as its home ice. Many of Oshie’s family and friends were in attendance, including SJHA President Mike Murphy. Murphy, who coached Oshie at the squirt, pewee and bantam levels, remains close with Oshie.
Oshie was active early against the Kraken, dropping the gloves with Yanni Gourde in the first period after Oshie delivered a high hit on Brandon Tanev. It was Oshie’s seventh fight with the Capitals. Ironically, Oshie’s last non-preseason fight came against Gourde in the postseason bubble in August 2020 when Gourde was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Orlov makes his way West
Dmitry Orlov took a positive step Thursday in his recovery from injury, joining the Capitals in Seattle while the team continues its road trip. Orlov, who has been dealing with a lower-body injury, did not travel with the Capitals for their first two games in New Jersey and Vancouver.
The defenseman last played in Washington’s 3-2 loss to Arizona on Nov. 5. Orlov’s injury was designated as day-to-day for nearly a week before the team placed him on injured reserve. Orlov was a full participant in Washington’s morning skate ahead of its game in Seattle, but he did not play.