The Caps had the best chance early on when Jakub Vrana beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones in the eighth minute of the contest, but his shot found the post and rattled out to leave the game scoreless. It would be the high point of a first period with chances that were not converted that ended scoreless.
-- San Jose had a 13-10 edge in shots and a 24-19 advantage in shot attempts.
-- Dmitry Orlov led the Caps with three shots on goal; no other Cap had more than one.
-- Garnet Hathaway was credited with three hits, half the Caps’ total for the period.
Just over a minute into the period, San Jose appeared to get the game’s first goal when Barclay Goodrow redirected a shot down and to the right of goalie Braden Holtby’s right pad. However, the goal was immediately washed out by the referee, who ruled that Goodrow’s stick was above the crossbar when he made contact with the puck.
San Jose did strike first after Richard Panik was sent to the penalty box for hi-sticking. Joe Thornton controlled the puck deep in the corner to Holtby’s right. He deked defenseman Nick Jensen to the ice, circled in, and then found Evander Kane for a one-timer from the edge of the left wing circle to make it 1-0, 6:25 into the period.
The lead lasted barely a minute. Brendan Leipsic outraced Marc-Edouard Vlasic to a loose puck along the right wing wall, and Leipsic flicked into the middle for a Nic Dowd one-timer that beat Jones at the 7:29 mark to tie the game.
The fourth line continued to drive action, Garnet Hathaway drawing a slashing penalty from Kane to put the Caps on a power play at the 7:56 mark. The Caps failed to convert, and it cost them. Logan Couture fed Kane coming out of the box and cut in front of him to create a screen in front of Holtby. Kane snapped a shot through that screen to beat Holtby past his right pad to make it 2-1, Sharks, 10:06 into the period.
Kane completed the hat trick, converting another power play chance. With Radko Gudas off for slashing, Erik Karlsson sent a drive that caromed off the shin of Garnet Hathaway right onto Kane’s stick. He wasted no time in rocketing a shot through Holtby to make it 3-1, 16:49 into the period.
The Caps inched to within a goal on some sloppy play by the Sharks behind their own net. T.J. Oshie muffled a lazy attempt by Vlasic to move the puck along the end boards, circled out from behind the net, and found Jakub Vrana all alone in the right wing circle. Vrana had time and space to pick his spot, and he dialed up and snap shot under the crossbar to make it 3-2 at the 18:42 mark.
The Caps had a chance in the dying seconds of the period, Evgeny Kuznetsov on a breakaway down the left side. Cutting to the net, he tried to curl the puck between his legs and wrong-foot a shot on Jones’ blocker side, but Kuznetsov lost control of the puck before he could attempt the shot. The teams went to the locker room with the Caps down a goal, 3-2.
-- The Caps had a 12-11 edge in shots on goal for the period, but San Jose had a 22-17 advantage in shot attempts.
-- Nick Jensen led the Caps in ice time through two periods with 15:57, 9:04 of that coming in the second period.
-- Jakub Vrana (three shots, two misses) and Radko Gudas (two shots, two blocked shots, one miss) led the Caps with five shot attempts apiece through two periods.
Nic Dowd made his way to the penalty box in the fifth minute of the period for sending the puck off the rink from the defensive end. San Jose did not score, but the Caps could not find the equalizer, either.
The teams continued back and forth for most of the period, the Caps unable to find the tying goal and the Sharks unable to put things away. San Jose did get insurance late with an empty netter with one minute left to make it 4-2, but the Caps got it back immediately when Vrana was left alone between the hash marks to tale a pass from Lars Eller and beat Jones to the glove side with 47 seconds left.
The Caps found a way to tie the game in the waning seconds. Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov worked the puck back and forth along the right wing wall, Kuznetsov ending up with it in the corner. He sent a no-look wrap-around pass to T.J. Oshie in the right wing circle, and Oshie one-timed the puck past Jones to tie the game with 15 seconds left in regulation.
The Caps needed two minutes to end it. Braden Holtby, who had two superb stops in the extra session, calmly sent a pass from his crease up along the right wing side and off the wall, where John Carlson took it in stride. Carlson circled up ice and into the offensive zone with Lars Eller on a developing 2-on-1. Carlson sent the puck across, Eller fished it out of his skates, and he snapped a shot past Jones to send the Caps faithful home in a happy, if surprised, frame of mind in the 5-4 win.
-- What a finish. After scoring two goals on their first 26 shots in the first 59:13, the Caps scored three goals on three shots in 2:48 to win it in overtime.
-- Goalie Braden Holtby earned the second assist on the game-winning goal. It was his first point of the season and 11th career point for the Caps.
-- T.J. Oshie’s game-tying goal was the Caps’ sixth at 6-on-5 this season, tying them with Florida and Buffalo for the league lead (edit: the Caps had two 6-on-5 goals, giving them seven, most in the league)
-- Jakub Vrana had two goals, his eighth career two-goal game.
-- T.J. Oshie had a two-point game (1-1-2), extending his points streak to three games.
-- Lars Eller had a two-point game (1-1-2), his fifth of the season and first on home ice.
-- Vrana and Dmitry Orlov led the club with four shots apiece; John Carlson had seven shot attempts to lead the team.
-- The teams finished even in shots on goal with 29 apiece; the Sharks led in shot attempts, 62-52.
-- Per NBC Sports Washington, this was the first time in franchise history that the Caps won a game when trailing by two goals in the last minute.
-- That was the first home game this season in which Braden Holtby allowed more than three goals and won.
In the end…
This game will not go into the annals of the best games played by the Caps from a purist’s standpoint. But it put on display the team’s veteran makeup, constantly pushing, even when down two goals; and it illustrated Yogi Berra’s timeless wisdom that “it’s not over ‘til it’s over.” Take away what you will from this game, and it was frustrating, annoying (that Kane fellow), depressing at points. But for 2:48 at the end of the game, it was quite a thrill ride of the sort that can serve to shake the Caps out of their recent doldrums and back on the path of dominance they have displayed for most of the season.