WASHINGTON -- Carolina Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice conceded Sunday that the time probably has come to reevaluate the players he sends out in shootouts.
"At some point you have to," he said.
The Canes are at that point. For the third time in five games, Carolina lost a shootout Sunday as Washington's Alex Ovechkin had the only shootout goal in the Caps' 3-2 victory at Verizon Center.
Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu all came up empty for the Canes against Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov.
"There's not a lot of guys we're holding back on the bench, who have done it a while or really shown they've had success with it, " Maurice said. "The question we're going to have to answer is, do we just keep running these guys until they get back to form, because they have been very good at it, or do you have to start auditioning other people?
"It may be a little bit of both."
Jokinen, considered one of the league's top shootout threats, is 26-of-54 in his career but 0-4 this season. Skinner is 2-for-4 in his rookie year and Ruutu 8-for-19 overall and 0-2 this season.
Eric Staal is 2-for-13 in his career and rarely used in shootouts. Then again, Ovechkin was just 14-for-49 before scoring Sunday.
The Canes won their first shootout this season, beating the Minnesota Wild in Finland. They've now dropped three but Maurice said he still favors deciding games with shootouts.
"I do. I don't like the way it's weighted in terms of the value it's given but I don't have a solution for it and I don't complain about it," he said. "Ties are just not fun. If you ask the fans to invest their time and invest their money, it's a pretty exciting moment in a hockey game.
"Coaches don't like it because it's not really a team event. It's a novelty. But the fact of the matter is I think it's great for the game."
The Canes just need to find a better way of going about it in shootouts Maurice said.
"They're a lot more fun with you win 'em," he said.