With injuries piling up, Capitals fall 3-2 to Golden Knights in overtime

With injuries piling up, Caps fall to Vegas in OT originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON — The Capitals have caught very few breaks in the injury department over their first three weeks of the season and Tuesday was no different. After winger Beck Malenstyn became the latest player to be forced out of a contest, they nearly pulled off an upset win over the first-place Vegas Golden Knights before falling 3-2 in overtime.

Everything about Tuesday’s game suggested a defeat for Washington. They were already down defenseman John Carlson and a slew of forwards before Malenstyn wore a puck on a block that sent him to the locker room. It was the second leg of a back-to-back and backup goalie Charlie Lindgren was facing Vegas netminder Logan Thompson, who was off to a strong start.

Washington was in control of the game late but a goal allowed in the final six minutes of regulation allowed Vegas to force overtime and ultimately pull off the comeback.

Here are three takeaways from the Capitals’ loss to the Golden Knights.

Strome plays shot creator

Capitals center Dylan Strome recorded the 20th multi-assist game of his NHL career Tuesday, making key passes on each of Washington’s two goals.

On their first power-play opportunity of the night, Alex Ovechkin passed the puck to Strome behind the net after he slipped a pair of preoccupied Golden Knights defensemen. He then pivoted and fired a pass to Marcus Johansson, who fired a shot off Alec Martinez’s stick that found its way past Thompson for an early score.

Vegas tied the game up on a Jack Eichel power-play goal late in the first period, but the Capitals took the lead back early in the second off a Strome faceoff.

The Capitals entered Tuesday’s game with a 41.4 faceoff win percentage that ranked 31st in the NHL. They fared much better at the dot Tuesday with a Strome faceoff win translating into a quick score by defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Lindgren shows out in regulation

Making his first home start with the Capitals, Lindgren had a strong night between the pipes as he limited a Golden Knights team averaging 3.2 goals per game to two scores on 28 shots in regulation. His evening saw several highlight-worthy stops including this one:

Washington was able to keep Vegas’s shot total down by blocking a season-high 26 shots. Unfortunately for the Capitals, one of those blocks came at a cost after Malenstyn was struck by a puck in the upper body and had to leave the game.

Lindgren’s night ended on a sour note, however, after Shea Theodore scored the game-winner in overtime.

Caps facing plenty of hurdles early

Despite playing in the second half of a back-to-back that followed a four-game road trip, the Capitals played with plenty of energy Tuesday and weren’t afraid to get rough with a physical Golden Knights team. It helped them grab a point against one of the NHL’s hottest teams despite missing more than two lines’ worth of forwards.

In addition to Carlson and Malenstyn, the Capitals are dealing with long-term injuries to forwards T.J. Oshie (lower body), Connor Brown (ACL), Carl Hagelin (eye/hip), Tom Wilson (ACL) and Nicklas Backstrom (hip). Winger Garnet Hathaway also briefly left the game with an apparent leg injury on a collision but later returned to the ice.

No timetable has been given for Oshie, but Wilson is the closest among the rest of the injured players to returning with him on track to suit up in mid-December at the earliest.

Even so, the Capitals will be without most of those players for at least another month or two, if not more. They are going to have to replace them internally in the meantime and Tuesday’s game showed they can still play good teams well without them. It also comes on the heels of an intense shootout loss to the first-place Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

Washington will have the day off Wednesday before packing its bags once again for a road matchup with the Detroit Red Wings.

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