January 31, 2023

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SEATTLE — The Washington Capitals appeared in control early Thursday night against the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena, and held a two-goal lead as they held a dangerous Kraken offense at bay. Then the wheels fell off, the home side leveling in the closing minutes of regular time, scoring the winning goal seven seconds after extra time to win Seattle 3-2.

Seattle rookie Matt Beniers scored the game winner for the Kraken (15-5-3), which extended his winning streak to seven games. Beniers was able to break away from the opening faceoff in the extra frame and easily beat goalkeeper Darcy Kuemper (22 saves).

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“There’s nothing I’m happy about tonight,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said after the game.

After Washington (10-11-4) took a 2-0 lead, Kraken center Jayden Schwartz cut the Capitals’ lead to 2-1 with a 6:32 in midfield. His eighth goal of the season was a rebound goal in front of the goal area.

Unable to get anything going offensively in the third section, Washington was stuck in his defensive zone for a good chunk of the frame.

The Kraken continued to press and conceded the equalizer from Yanni Gourde up front with 2:27 left in regulation. Seattle goalie Philipp Grubauer, who spent the first six years of his career with Washington, finished the game with 21 saves.

“We just slowed everything down and flipped a lot of pucks and I don’t think we deserved the win today,” said Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary. “We were getting worse and worse and they were playing pretty hard and we just weren’t doing our job.”

The Capitals are now 1-1-1 at the halfway point of their six-game season road trip. Washington’s road trip continues in Calgary on Saturday.

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Fehervary gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead at 7:36 of the first period, using his left point to fire a feed from Alex Ovechkin, who ended the contest with two assists. It was Fehervary’s second goal in as many games after the defender went without a goal for the first 23 games of the season.

Conor Sheary doubled Washington’s lead at 14:04 of the first with his powerplay goal in front. Sheary’s record capped off an exquisite passing sequence that began with Ovechkin’s cross-ice feed to Marcus Johansson, who dished it up to Sheary in front for the score. Washington went 1 to 4 on the power play.

In stark contrast to the first two games of his road trip, Washington managed just 11 shots on goal in the first two halves and finished with 23 overall.

“Our game has definitely trended upwards,” said Kümper. “Tonight we might not have had our best stuff or all our legs but we took the lead and unfortunately couldn’t hold those two but we took a point and we need to collect as many as we can. ”

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On Thursday, TJ Oshie, who grew up in Everett, Wash., played his first 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 their home ice. Many of Oshie’s family and friends were in attendance, including SJHA President Mike Murphy. Murphy, who trained Oshie at the Squirt, Pewee, and Bantam levels, remains close to Oshie.

Active early against the Kraken, Oshie dropped the gloves with Yanni Gourde in the first period after Oshie delivered a high hit to Brandon Tanev. It was Oshie’s seventh fight with the Capitals. Ironically, Oshie’s last non-preseason fight came in August 2020 in the postseason bubble against Gourde when Gourde was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Dmitry Orlov took a positive step in his injury recovery on Thursday, joining the Capitals in Seattle as the team continues on their road trip. Orlov, who is struggling with a lower body injury, did not travel with the Capitals to their first two games in New Jersey and Vancouver.

The defenseman last played in Washington’s 3-2 loss to Arizona on November 5. Orlov’s injury was listed as an everyday injury for nearly a week before the team placed him on injured reserve. Orlov was a full participant in Washington’s morning skate ahead of his Seattle game, but he didn’t play.

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