for this game

Kozlov, Laich propel Capitals past Maple Leafs

Jan 25, 2008 - 5:20 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Viktor Kozlov and Brooks Laich each scored a goal and All-Star Alex Ovechkin had two assists to lead the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Just 5 1/2 minutes into the third period, Kozlov's ninth goal of the season came just 36 seconds after Boyd Devereaux tied the game for Toronto. Ovechkin and rookie Nicklas Backstrom also assisted on the game-winning goal.

With the victory, Washington passed Atlanta for sole possession of second place in the Southeast Division and trails idle Carolina by only one point. The Thrashers fell to the New York Rangers, 2-1, in a shootout on Thursday night.

The Capitals, who have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Bruce Boudreau took over as coach on November 22, improved to 11-4-1 in their last 16 home games after starting the season 2-7-0 at Verizon Center.

"We just finished seven games in 12 nights, and three games in the last four nights in three different cities - that's a lot of hockey," Boudreau said. "And in this league, you don't play any weak teams, so that means you have to be up every night."

Washington is the only NHL team to go without consecutive losses during a span of 29 games, its longest streak in that category since going without back-to-back defeats in a 49-game span to end the 1999-00 season.

"We didn't want to lose two in a row, especially coming back home after a loss in the last minute of the game in Toronto," Capitals goaltender Brent Johnson said. "It was a huge victory for us tonight. Everyone played a heck of a game, and it's going to be a nice (NHL All-Star) break because we've got guys that are hurt and we could use our rest."

Laich, playing his 200th game for the Capitals, gave Washington a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal at 13:05 of the first period. Ovechkin launched a blistering slap shot from just inside the blue line and Laich, stationed in front of the net, redirected the puck for his eighth tally of the season. Tomas Fleischmann also assisted.

After Devereaux scored his seventh goal of the season at 4:54 of the third, Kozlov blasted in a rebound past goaltender Vesa Toskala 36 seconds later to regain the lead for Washington.

"When they scored to tie it 1-1 and we scored the next shift, I thought that was a huge turnaround," Boudreau said. "But that's what we've been doing. The guys have got a lot of character and then they hung on until the end."

For Kozlov, it was his third goal in the last four games.

For the first time since he signed a 13-year, $124-million contract on January 10, Ovechkin failed to score a goal in this one. He had tallied in six consecutive games, his longest goal streak since his career-best seven-game streak during his rookie season.

Ovechkin is averaging nearly two points per game in that time (seven goals, four assists), with four multiple-point games. Entering Thursday's play, he led the league in goals and had climbed within three points of the overall scoring lead.

Ovechkin's next stop will be at the 56th NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta on Sunday.

"All-Star is a day off," he said with a smile. "What do you want to see? Special things? I can bring a brush for my hair.

"Actually, I want to go to Atlanta. Great players will be there - a lot of Russian guys. I just want to have fun over there and be in the atmosphere of the All-Star Game."

Johnson stopped 31 shots for the Capitals, who extended their home winning streak to four games, and atoned for a 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Wednesday in Toronto.

"Brent was awesome," Boudreau said. "He was sharp. You could tell he was on top of his game. His movement was great, and we needed him because we were a tired bunch and we got outplayed, I thought, pretty good for the first time in a while. He played a great game."

Johnson improved to 6-5-1 this season.

Toskala made 18 saves for the Maple Leafs, who had won four of their previous five.

Toronto lost left wing Alex Steen and center Darryl Boyce to shoulder injuries during the game.

"There was a lot of banging going on out there," Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "We lost 'Steener' early in the game and Boyce late in the game, so we went to running a short bench."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 8 (ALEX OVECHKIN, TOMAS FLEISCHMANN)
    13:05
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: TOR - BOYD DEVEREAUX 7 (PAVEL KUBINA, TOMAS KABERLE) 4:54
    WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM)
    5:30
    POWER-

    Jan 24 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    3RD PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 9 (ALEX OVECHKIN, NICKLAS BACKSTROM) 5:30

    Maple Leafs vs. CapitalsJan 24 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    3RD PRD: TOR - BOYD DEVEREAUX 7 (PAVEL KUBINA, TOMAS KABERLE) 4:54

    Maple Leafs vs. CapitalsJan 24 9:02 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 8 (ALEX OVECHKIN, TOMAS FLEISCHMANN)
    13:05
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 10 9 19
    WAS 7 7 14
    GOALIES

    Jan 24 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TORONTO 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 8 (ALEX OVECHKIN, TOMAS FLEISCHMANN)
    13:05
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TOR 10 10
    WAS 7 7
    GOALIES: TOR - VESA T

    Jan 24 7:42 PM


  • NHL
    TORONTO 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 8 (ALEX OVECHKIN, TOMAS FLEISCHMANN)
    13:05

    Maple Leafs vs. CapitalsJan 24 7:33 PM
  • 10
    roots
    dcnationals74 Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. CapitalsJan 24 7:47 AM
  • 5
    roots
    OddyOh Added 5 roots

    Maple Leafs vs. CapitalsJan 22 9:00 PM