The Washington Capitals lost their second game in as many days on Monday night, as one of the Western Conference's best teams came to Verizon Center and ran away with a decisive 5-3 win. The San Jose Sharks were incredibly effective on the power play all night and jumped out to a four goal lead deep into the third period.
After Washington got on the board late in the second period, San Jose quickly responded and extended their lead back to three goals just five minutes into the final period. Brent Burns fired a low laser from the blue line and with John McCarthy camped out in front, Braden Holtby never had a chance.
Just two minutes later, the Sharks made it 5-1 on their third power play goal of the night. Patrick Marleau went streaking to the front of the net and took a centering pass from Joe Thornton from the bad angle. Holtby stopped the initial poke by Marleau but a loose puck was pushed through by Ryan Clowe. Marleau did all the work but Clowe was eventually credited with the goal.
Down four, the Caps made it interesting late and cut San Jose's lead in half with two goals from Dale Hunter's defenseman. Roman Hamrlik got the first score, flipping a backhand from the right wing that snuck past Thomas Greiss. Marcus Johansson brought the puck into the zone, dropping it off for Hamrlik who used a Jay Beagle screen in front to get his second goal of the season.
The Caps second goal of the period came from an even more unlikely source as Eric Schultz got his first goal of the season. With a little under six minutes remaining, Schultz fired a low shot from the point that Greiss never saw due to traffic in front set up by Alex Ovechkin.
But the Caps couldn't pull off the long-shot comeback and San Jose closed it out for a 5-3 win. The Caps now have three days off before heading south for a huge division matchup with the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
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Two Sharks goals on the man advantage have them leading 3-1 over the Caps after 40 minutes.
Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau scored at 3:26 and 16:11, respectively, to put the Sharks up by three. San Jose is 2-of-4 on the power play for the game and have scored nine in five-plus games in February.
Meanwhile, the Caps had three power play opportunities in the period, but could not convert any of them. The Verizon Center crowd began to boo the Caps, but the Caps gave them something to cheer about as time expired in the second period.
Dmitry Orlov's blast from the point squeaked by Thomas Greiss and slid over the goal line with less than one second left to give the crowd and the Caps some positive energy and momentum heading into the third period.
At 12:12, Dan Boyle fired what seemed like a harmless clearing attempt into their offensive zone. Yet, Pavelski tipped the puck, changing its trajectory towards the net. Surprise starter Braden Holtby went to make the glove save, but the puck tipped off the top of the glove and into the back of the net. It was Pavelski's 21st goal of the season.
With Tomas Vokoun missing Sunday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers and Monday's morning skate with an illness, Holtby will likely be used as Michal Neuvirth's back-up. Per the league's collective bargaining agreement, teams can exceed the 23-man roster limit twice per season to make an emergency goaltender recall.
With that being said, Vokoun does not need to be placed on injured reserve to make room for Holtby, who is making his first appearance of the season. Holtby appeared in 14 games for Washington last season, going 10-2-2. This season, Holtby is 18-11-1 with a 2.55 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
Meanwhile, this will be Rechlicz's second stint in Washington. He signed an entry-level deal January 30 and appeared in two games January 31 and February 1, totaling just 4:26 of ice time.
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The Washington Capitals will try and bounce-back from Sunday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers, as they host the San Jose Sharks in a inter-conference contest at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The Capitals (28-22-5) are also losers of five of their last seven, while the Sharks (30-17-6) are looking for their second victory over Washingon this season.
In the last seven games at home against the Sharks, the Capitals are 1-5-1 at home since, with the only victory coming October 15, 2009.
Game Date/Time: Monday, February 13, 7:30 P.M. ET
Location: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 1500AM, 820AM, XM and Caps Radio Network
We'll have more on this game throughout the day at SB Nation DC, so keep it locked to this StoryStream. For more on Washington, check out Japers' Rink, SB Nation's Capitals blog. And for more on this and every NHL game, head over to the SB Nation NHLhub page.
One of the players taking his option was Tomas Vokoun, who did not start Sunday in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers while suffering from the flu. Michal Neuvirth was on the ice, however, and told reporters that he will indeed start his second game in as many days. That will likely be the case; however, Dale Hunter would not commit to either goalie, calling Vokoun a "game-time decision."
Neuvirth has never defeated the Sharks in three games, while Vokoun's 16 career wins against them are the second-most against any team during his career (Columbus Blue Jackets - 20).
Meanwhile, Mike Knuble was the last player on the ice Monday, which means that he will be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game.
Mike Green (abdominal surgery) skated for over an hour, the longest he has done so since his surgery January 17.