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Avalanche send Caps to fifth straight loss

Dec 12, 2010 - 6:41 AM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Paul Stastny scored what proved to be the game-winning goal midway through the second period, and the Colorado Avalanche held on for an impressive 3-2 road victory over the struggling Washington Capitals.

Stastny also assisted on the other two Avalanche goals, as Colorado finished its five-game road trip with two wins after opening with three losses. Kevin Shattenkirk finished with a goal and an assist, while Ryan Wilson also scored in the victory.

Craig Anderson withstood an array of Capitals shots and stopped 40 to pick up the win.

Mike Knuble had a goal and an assist, and Matt Hendricks also scored for the Capitals, who have lost five straight for the first time since Bruce Boudreau was named head coach. Alex Ovechkin failed to score again and now has only two goals in his last 13 games; the Caps have gone 5-6-2 in that stretch.

Michal Neuvirth allowed three goals on 26 shots in defeat.

"That looked more like our team tonight," Boudreau said. "When things aren't going well, that's what happens. It's on the upswing, not on the downswing. If we have an effort like that again tomorrow, we might get rewarded for it."

Shattenkirk opened the scoring 2:14 into the first period, and Knuble came back to tie the game for Washington. Ovechkin slipped past a defender and threw a backhand toward the net. The puck deflected off Anderson's glove and into mid-air, where Knuble whacked it into the net at 9:45.

With 1:21 to go in the opening period, Wilson streaked down the left side of the ice uncovered and took a feed from Stastny. He skated into the circle all alone and fired a wrister to Neuvirth's glove side for a 2-1 lead.

Stastny extended the Avalanche lead with the lone second period goal while on the man advantage. Shattenkirk held the puck at the right circle, and Stastny snuck to the front of the ice unbeknownst to three Capitals defenders. The ensuing pass went perfectly between the three, and Stastny simply redirected it from the mouth of the crease at 9:53.

"I think it kind of changed the momentum, it was a big goal for us to get that two-goal lead," Stastny said. "Sometimes, we have a tendency to sit back when we have that lead, and that's what we happened a little bit."

Hendricks cut the Caps' deficit to one 4:30 into the third with a nifty between-the-legs move on the power play. The puck bounced off a defender's stick to Hendricks, who was facing away from the net. His shot seemed to surprise Anderson, as the disc slid underneath the goaltender for a 3-2 contest.

Washington had its final power play opportunity with less than six minutes to go, but came up empty. Pulling Neuvirth with 1:19 to go also failed to produce an equalizer, as the Capitals piled on another loss to their ledger.

Game Notes

The last Caps five-game skid came from November 10-21, 2007, and ended with head coach Glen Hanlon's dismissal...The Avs finished their five-game road trip 2-1-2...Washington recorded 31 shots in the final two periods, compared to only 13 for Colorado.