You’ve got to give it to them — the Washington Capitals are anything but predictable this season.
Before the campaign even began, most entities based outside of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia took one look at an aging and expensive lineup that has been bounced from the postseason in the first round for three consecutive years and decided that the window for Alex Ovechkin and friends to bring home a second championship had firmly closed.
Additionally, more than a quarter into the season, the Caps have still not had the services of top-line center Nicklas Backstrom, who is still recovering from a hip injury. T.J. Oshie, Anthony Mantha and several other key contributors have also been in and out of the lineup due to various ailments, and yet, Washington entered the week with the NHL’s top record.
When the Chicago Blackhawks came to town, they were not enjoying the same level of success as the Capitals this season, struggling to find consistency this season as they reside in seventh place in their own Central Division. So naturally, just when you expect the Caps to cruise to a resounding win over a wounded opponent, the hockey gods had different plans.
On this night, Chicago bested the Capitals 4-3 via shootout, thanks in large part to the exploits of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and two goal posts. Goals by Nic Dowd, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Garnet Hathaway weren’t enough to prevent Washington from dropping to 0-7 in shootouts this season.