“We had control of that game,” Karl Alzner said. “We had two points in our hands and the fact that we don’t have it now is frustrating. I hope it doesn’t come down to that.”
The disappointment followed what had been a strong first two periods for the Capitals, who appeared to have brought the successful play from their California trip back home. Washington jumped on a tired Kings squad, which defeated the Flyers, 3-2, in Philadelphia the night before, from the opening faceoff using hustle to draw penalties that led to a quick lead.
Coach Adam Oates said Backstrom was not undergoing concussion protocol testing and reiterated that the 26-year-old suffered an upper-body injury. It’s possible that the impact of falling to the ice resulted in a shoulder injury for Backstrom.
As the Capitals have learned over the years, there is arguably no player whose absence is more difficult to cope with than Backstrom’s. When he missed 40 games with a concussion during the 2011-12 season the Capitals were without their best playmaker and the void was noticeable both at even strength and on special teams.
“You miss Backy but every team has guys that go out,” Oates said. “You’ve got 19 other guys that got to do the job, we have plenty of guys that can do the job.”
Alex Ovechkin scored a pair of first-period power-play goals and Dustin Penner netted his first goal as a Capital to give the Capitals a 3-1 lead heading into the third period. It wasn’t enough. Unanswered goals by Dwight King, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown in the third period gave the Kings a 4-3 lead until Evgeny Kuznetsov sent the game into overtime with his first NHL goal with 41.4 seconds left. Dmitry Orlov rang a shot off the right post in overtime, but Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored on each of the Kings’ first two shootout attempts for the win. Kuznetsov and Eric Fehr were stopped by Jonathan Quick in the shootout.
Chuck Gormley: Second thoughts on Caps’ shootout defeat
After netting just two goals in his previous nine games Alex Ovechkin scored two power-play goals, picked up an assist and registered seven shots against the Kings. Ovechkin has scored 22 power-play goals this season, tying the Capitals single-season record shared by him and Peter Bondra. Ovechkin has recorded three or more points in a game seven times this season, and leads the NHL in goals , power-play goals  and shots . Despite his big night, Ovechkin was not happy with the way the Caps squandered a two-goal lead for the 13th time this season.“We made mistakes in our zone,” Ovechkin said. “We didn’t do the right thing and it almost cost us both points.”
Chuck Gormley: Caps’ shootout loss could be costly in playoff push
“It hurts a lot,” Marcus Johansson said of the blown two points. “You never know when it comes down to it – in our out of the playoffs by one point. Hopefully, it doesn’t come down to that.”
The shootout loss may also have been costly.
Caps center Nicklas Backstrom left the game in the second period after being checked into the glass by Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, and defenseman Jack Hillen was knocked out of the game 2:22 into overtime when he did a face-plant into Alex Ovechkin’s chest.
SB Nation: JAPERS’ RINK
Heroics from Kuznetsov ensured the single standings point after an unremarkable final twenty minutes of play. The visitors foiled two separate two goal leads for the Capitals but the home team came back in typical fashion late. This team still has holes to fill but the Capitals’ single point – coupled with regulation losses from the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings has a positive impact on Washington’s playoff push.
RUSSIAN MACHINE NEVER BREAKS
Peter Hassett: One Bloody Loser Point: Kings beat Caps 5-4 (SO)
Now that was real Caps hockey.
…Not how Washington played, obviously, but how the Kings did it. They played carefully through neutral and funneled all their o-zone action towards the Capitals’ net. When the Kings went down in the score, they kept pressing. Once they took the lead, they kept pressing. Scoar moar goals hockey. That was the style of hockey that built this franchise, now the Kings cowed them with it.