The Carolina Hurricanes had won seven straight games at home, but none in a shootout.
Shootouts have been a constant struggle for the Canes and particularly for goalie Cam Ward, and so it went again Friday as the Washington Capitals won 4-3 at PNC Arena.
Ward made a number of high-quality, hustling stops in the 65 minutes of regulation and overtime. His stick was quick and his pads active, and he gave his team a chance to win the game.
But in the shootout, T.J. Oshie scored for Washington. Next, Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on a backhander.
The Caps (19-7-3) won as goalie Philipp Grubauer first denied Sebastian Aho, then had the Canes’ Jaccob Slavin’s attempt go off the post. Just like that, the Canes’ streak was over and Washington had a sixth consecutive win and its first shootout victory of the season.
Oshie’s goal with 6:04 left in regulation tied the score 3-3 and both Metropolitan Division teams had their chances in overtime. But the Canes left the ice with their fourth shootout loss of the season and seventh loss in either overtime or a shootout.
“It was a good game. Too bad we didn’t find a way to win,” said the Canes’ Teuvo Teravainen, whose power-play goal early in the third period gave the Canes a 3-2 lead. ”Both teams played good and we need to find a way to win these type of games. But tomorrow’s a new day.”
The Canes (12-11-7) host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and Canes coach Bill Peters said there might be a few lineup changes. But he quickly said Ward, 1-4 in shootouts this season and 16-39 in his career, again would be in net.
The Canes began their home winning streak, their longest since 2010, with a 5-1 win Nov. 12 over the Caps and Grubauer. Washington was playing the second of a back-to-back that game, but both teams had been off since Tuesday this time — the Canes coming off a wild 8-6 win over Vancouver when they scored six in the third.
The game Friday was filled with momentum shifts, good saves, tough matchups and some questionable plays.
Jeff Skinner gave the Canes a first-period lead and Justin Faulk’s goal off the rush in the second tied it 2-2. When Teravainen redirected a pass by Aho, who had two assists, Carolina had a 3-2 lead just 40 seconds into the third.
The Caps got a power-play score from Alexander Ovechkin and a quick-hitting goal from Justin Williams, both in the second. It was the first time Williams, the former Canes forward and member of the 2006 Stanley Cup champs, had scored on Ward, an old friend.
“I’m not going to lie to you, that felt good,” Williams said. “I gave him a wink on the way by.”
Washington turned to some roughhouse play in the second, with Tom Wilson and then Matt Niskanen banging on Skinner. Niskanen’s knee-to-knee hit on Skinner was questionable, landing Niskanen in the penalty box as Canes fans in the crowd of 11,892 hissed at the defenseman who was responsible for a Skinner concussion a few years ago.
Skinner’s goal Friday, his 12th, came when he got inside position on Niskanen in front of Grubauer and scored on a Derek Ryan pass.
The Canes, who lead the NHL in penalty killing, had killed off 21 straight penalties before Ovechkin scored his 14th. That came after the dynamic forward forced a turnover by the Canes’ Viktor Stalberg at the Washington blue line as Stalberg tried to initiate a shorthanded rush.
The Canes had 38 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage in the second, but couldn’t convert. After Teravainen’s power-play goal in the third, another Carolina power play was stopped by the Caps.
Oshie’s goal, with 6:04 left in regulation, also came on a redirection in the slot and was his 10th of the season.
The Canes had five shots and the Caps four in the overtime, and Ward made a tough stop on Kuznetsov.
“It was a well-played game,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said. “I thought both teams were energized. Carolina, to me, is a very dangerous team."
Until shootouts, that is.