Going into Sunday night's game against the once heated rival New York Islanders, the Washington Capitals had lost three in a row and six of their last eight games, including a 2-0 loss to the Penguins the previous day. They needed a win.
The night started out well, with Matt Pettinger grabbing a rebound off of a Richard Zednik wrap-around attempt and past a sprawling Rick DiPietro just 2:52 into the first period. The remainder of the first period was fairly uneventful, but as time expired, former Capital Brendan Witt was whistled for slashing, resulting in a 2-minute man advantage for Washington to start the second period.
Unfortunately, the Caps power play has struggled at times this season, and not only was the opportunity wasted, but Mike Sillinger knotted the score at one with a short-handed goal just 27 seconds into the second frame. Sillinger and Trent Hunter fought their way into the Caps' zone, and although Olie Kolzig stopped the initial rush, Hunter gathered the puck along the boards and fired a centering pass to Sillinger, who stood uncontested in front of the goal.
There would be no more scoring for the remainder of regulation time. The rest of the game was a battle between the netminders, with some phenomenal play at both ends. Kolzig had 30 saves through 60 minutes, DiPietro had 28; and as time expired to end regulation play, the general consensus in the building was that a shootout was imminent with both goaltenders playing so well.
While the overtime period proved more exciting than the rest of the game, nothing was decided. The goaltenders added to their save totals, and the crowd at the Verizon Center readied itself for the Capitals' sixth shooutout of the season.
The Caps have not faired too well in the shootouts, posting an 0-for-5 mark this season. It's a bit perplexing when you consider that they boast two of the most talented goal scorers in the National Hockey League in Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin.
This shootout would be different though, as Semin deked past DiPietro and went to the backhand for a goal on the first shot of the shootout. That would be the only marker for the Capitals, but it would be enough as Kolzig stoned the Isles to give the Caps the much needed victory.