"I have no idea," he said Tuesday night after a 3-2 shootout loss to Montreal, the eighth consecutive time the Caps have lost a game that was tied after 60 minutes. "The last couple we're not losing in overtime, we're playing better 4-on-4. We were smart, we stayed pretty well man-to-man.
"In the shootout we had three great looks … but we didn't get the pucks in the spots we wanted them. I don't know if that's confidence, or it's Carey Price being that good. When things are going good for you, they all go in. When you're not, scoring-wise, they don't go in."
Washington has lost four times in overtime and four times in shootouts since its last post-regulation win, a 3-2 shootout victory against Carolina on Nov. 28. The last two have come in shootouts, including a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers last Monday.
This time, the Caps couldn't hold an early 2-0 lead, as Montreal captain Brian Gionta scored twice in the second period before getting the only goal of the shootout. Price, who missed the morning skate because his equipment didn't arrive, stopped Nicklas Backstrom, Matt Hendricks and Alex Ovechkin in the shootout for the win after make 27 saves through 65 minutes.
Price's goaltending gear had been stored underneath the team bus and was overlooked when a mechanical problem caused the team to switch buses. It wasn't located and returned until the team huddled for a meeting at the end of the practice session.
"My equipment went out to the bus lot and it sat outside all night," Price said. "I got it back this morning in a frozen solid block."
It wasn't a welcome rest.
"I really like pregame skates," Price said. "I like to get a sweat on, and I was getting a chill on this morning."
Perreault opened the scoring 2:29 into the game by beating Price from the middle of the left circle for his sixth goal of the season and first in the NHL since Dec. 26. Knuble, stationed at the left of the net, slammed home a pass from Mike Green for a 2-0 lead.
But that was all the offense the Caps could muster.
"At this time of year, we can't afford to just be good for 20 minutes," Perreault said. "It's got to be 60 minutes. Playoffs are coming up and those are points we need if we want to get a good spot for the playoffs."
Montreal recovered quickly and outshot Washington in all three regulation periods.
"Our guys just played solid defensively. In the second period, I don't think they had but about two shots until the five minute mark," Price said. "We did an excellent job of coming back."
The Capitals also had six penalties to the Canadiens' three, although Washington successfully killed all six Montreal power plays to extend a streak of 24 straight penalty kills.
Gionta got a pair of easy chances in the second period, and converted both of them. He put the Canadiens on the scoreboard at 8:28, keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 rush and firing a shot past Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
Gionta tied the game at 17:22 when a drop pass attempt by Washington defenseman John Carlson became into a turnover and a breakaway for Gionta, who finished with a wrister for his 18th goal -- and second two-goal game -- of the season.
"It's tough in this League to get chances that are that wide open, where you're not forced or pressured," Gionta said. "To have that kind of time, it makes all the difference."
Gionta made the most of his final open look on Montreal's first shootout attempt. He shot high over Varlamov, who had sprawled out, for the only goal in the shootout.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
|Mathieu Perreault (6) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 WSH
|PPG - Mike Knuble (12) ASST: Mike Green (15), Mathieu Perreault (4)|
2 - 0 WSH
|Brian Gionta (17) ASST: Andrei Kostitsyn (16), James Wisniewski (29)|
2 - 1 WSH
|Brian Gionta (18) ASST: Tomas Plekanec (25)|
2 - 2 Tie
|1||N. Backstrom||B. Gionta||0 - 1|
|2||M. Hendricks||J. Wisniewski||0 - 1|
|3||A. Ovechkin||0 - 1|
|Roman Hamrlik Hooking against Marcus Johansson|
|Tomas Plekanec Hooking against Mathieu Perreault|
|Mike Knuble Tripping against Hal Gill|
|Karl Alzner Holding against Tomas Plekanec|
|Alex Ovechkin Slashing against Jeff Halpern|
|Brooks Laich Slashing against Yannick Weber|
|P.K. Subban Roughing against Alex Ovechkin|
|Brooks Laich Tripping against Travis Moen|
|Brooks Laich Hooking against Lars Eller|