Capitals lose to Kraken 5-2 in third regulation loss of season

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Capitals lose to Kraken 5-2 in third regulation loss of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals lost their first-ever game against the Seattle Kraken 5-2 on Sunday at Climate Pledge Arena on the last game of their four-game road swing.

It was the team’s third regulation loss of the season and dropped them to 11-3-5 on the year. It also snapped their seven-game point streak. They’ll look to get back in the win column on Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens. 

Here are a few takeaways from the loss in Seattle:

Second period slips away

The Capitals entered the second period with the game tied at one, but the wheels came off in a matter of minutes.

The Kraken scored two goals in 43 seconds (first from Jaden Schwartz and then from Adam Larsson) to take a 3-1 lead, then got insurance from Calle Jarnkrok to put them up 4-1. The Kraken scored three goals in seven minutes and 34 seconds as the Capitals’ injuries and fatigue on the west coast swing seemed to catch up to them in the middle frame. 

Washington was without T.J. Oshie and Conor Sheary, as well as Nicklas Backstrom all due to injuries, plus Lars Eller who is out on COVID protocol. All this on the second-half of a back-to-back. They’ll return home to face the Canadiens on Wednesday and the Florida Panthers on Friday, where they’ll look to get their legs back under them. 

Alex Ovechkin scores again

Alex Ovechkin didn’t take long to mark his territory on the NHL’s newest franchise, as he scored his 15th goal of the season, 745th goal all-time and first-ever goal against the Seattle Kraken. He has now scored against every active NHL franchise except, of course, Washington.

He now is just 21 goals away from tying Jaromir Jagr for third all-time on the NHL’s goal-scoring list and is five away from 750. Ovechkin also has 15 goals in 19 games so far this season, which is good for second in the league behind Leon Draisaitl. The excellent season just continues for the 36-year-old captain, who keeps defying Father Time with each goal he scores. 

The Capitals pushed, hard, on the Seattle net in the third period but weren't able to get any more pucks behind Grubauer other than Ovechkin's tally. The Kraken added an empty-net goal to put the game away.

Washington (state) to Washington (D.C.)

The Capitals had two former members of the Kraken in their lineup Sunday, as Vitek Vanecek was in net and Dennis Cholowski made his debut on defense. The latter was a late add to the lineup, as Sheary was a late scratch with an upper-body injury. 

Both Vanecek and Cholowski were selections in the expansion draft this summer, but neither played a game for the franchise. Vanecek was traded back to D.C. and Cholowski was waived and claimed by the Capitals.

It was a fun bit of trivia for the night, as the Kraken honored their former netminder with a touching tribute video upon his return to Seattle. 

Injury woes continue

In less fun news for the Capitals, they were without Oshie and Sheary.

Oshie was absent with a lower-body injury and Sheary missed with an upper-body injury. It’s unclear if Oshie’s injury is an extension or re-aggravation of his previous injury that kept him out for a handful of games. Oshie, who is from Washington, missed out on the chance to play in his home state for the first time in his NHL career. 

Just as it seemed the Capitals were getting healthier, it appears they’re headed in the wrong direction health-wise once again. Nic Dowd and Oshie returned to the lineup a night prior against the Sharks, but with Eller (COVID-19 protocols), Backstrom (hip) and Anthony Mantha (shoulder) still absent, the Capitals still have a ways to go before they’re once again at full strength.