for this game

Ovechkin, Kolzig lead Capitals past Hurricanes

Oct 7, 2007 - 4:24 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals looked good in red.

Ovechkin scored the game's initial goal and Olaf Kolzig made 23 saves as the Capitals posted a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in their home opener Saturday night.

Defenseman Milan Jurcina added a power-play goal and Kolzig posted his 35th career shutout for Washington, which debuted its new red home jerseys.

"We just played hard and played our system," Ovechkin said. "We do everything until we win. Olie did an unbelievable job today. We scored twice and Olie makes unbelievable saves. He wins the game tonight."

One night after a solid season-opening 3-1 victory in Atlanta, the Capitals improved to 2-0-0 with their sixth consecutive home-opening win. Washington is now 10-2-1 in its last 13 home openers.

Saturday's victory marked the first time the Capitals have started with two straight wins since a 3-0-0 beginning to the 2002-03 campaign - the last time the club made the playoffs.

"Yeah, we've been talking about it all summer," said Kolzig, who posted the Capitals' first shutout in a home opener since a 1-0 victory over Anaheim on October 10, 1998. "We plan to make the playoffs. I think we're going to surprise a lot of people. We totally believe that this is what we're capable of."

Ovechkin, who has recorded at least a goal in all three of his home openers, put the Capitals on the board with 5:36 to go in the first. Fellow Russian Viktor Kozlov carried the puck before dropping it to Ovechkin, who whistled a shot from the high slot past the stick of goaltender John Grahame for a 1-0 lead.

"We play very well with each other," Ovechkin said of his teaming with Kozlov. "We understand each other. We talk a lot about how we have to play. Every game, it will be better and better."

"That's the best lane exchange I've seen in this building in a few years," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. "They seemed like they enjoyed playing with each other."

It was Ovechkin's 99th career goal and 200th point. Defenseman John Erskine also assisted on the play to notch points in back-to-back games for the first time since February.

Five minutes into the second period, Jurcina scored from 20 feet out as his shot was deflected by Carolina blue-liner Glen Wesley under the pads of Grahame to make it 2-0.

"On the first goal, Ovechkin made a pretty good shot," Ovechkin said. "The second one, there was a deflection right in front."

Playing in his first game after missing the season opener with an ankle sprain, Alexander Semin picked up an assist on the play.

"I thought Washington was on its toes all night, offensively and defensively," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "Anytime a puck came up in question, it was their puck. We showed more spark in the third period, but it was too little, too late."

The goals were more than enough for Kolzig, who stopped two shots in the first period, nine in the second and 12 in the third for his first shutout since April 3. The 19-year veteran, who was making his season debut, has now played in 658 career games - eight away from tying Mike Richter for second on the all-time list among netminders.

"It's fun when you get those because generally, you usually come out with a win," Kolzig said. "There were some hairy moments in there, it probably wasn't my most technical game. There was a lot of scrambling, but that's also part of my game, and guys also did a great job of blocking them out from getting any rebounds."

Prior to blanking Florida on April 3, Kolzig had last posted a shutout on February 15, 2004.

"When you can limit teams like Atlanta and Carolina to chances under 10, then the guys are doing the job," Kolzig said. "For the most part, it's because everybody as a unit is playing great in the defensive zone. We're all communicating well, the goalie lets the D know what to do, the D are talking to the forwards. Right now, everything seems to be working pretty good."

Grahame, who received the start for Carolina after Cam Ward had been in the crease the previous two games, made 31 saves.

"This being their home opener, they came out with a lot of jump," Grahame said. "We knew the crowd would be jumping. When you've got that adrenaline pumping, it's something you'd like to match, and we couldn't do it for the first 40 minutes."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, JOHN ERSKINE)
    14:24
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MILAN JURCINA 1 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, NICKLAS
    BACKSTROM) 5:00
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: CAR - 0 OF 3, WAS - 1 OF 4.
    SHOTS ON

    Oct 6 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, JOHN ERSKINE)
    14:24
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MILAN JURCINA 1 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, NICKLAS
    BACKSTROM) 5:00
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- ---

    Oct 6 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MICHAEL NYLANDER 2 (MILAN JURCINA, ALEXANDER
    SEMIN) 5:00

    Hurricanes vs. CapitalsOct 6 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAROLINA 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, JOHN ERSKINE)
    14:24
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CAR 2 2
    WAS 14 14
    GOALIES: CAR - JOHN GRAH

    Oct 6 7:40 PM


  • NHL
    CAROLINA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - ALEXANDER OVECHKIN 1 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, JOHN ERSKINE)
    14:24

    Hurricanes vs. CapitalsOct 6 7:36 PM
  • 10
    roots
    spanch Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes vs. CapitalsOct 6 12:37 PM
  • 5
    roots
    pclifton86 Added 5 roots

    Hurricanes vs. CapitalsOct 5 12:17 PM