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Laich's career night helps Capitals end skid

Feb 27, 2008 - 5:34 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - The Washington Capitals' front office was busy earlier in the day, but it was Brooks Laich that made sure their three-game winless streak came to an end.

Laich scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead the Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.

Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn and Eric Fehr each scored their first goals of the season and Olaf Kolzig made 34 saves for Washington, which acquired three players in three separate deals before Tuesday's 3 p.m. trade deadline.

The Capitals received 2007 All-Star goaltender Cristobal Huet from Montreal for a second-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry draft; acquired six-time All-Star center Sergei Fedorov from Columbus for defenseman prospect Theo Ruth; and brought in left wing Matt Cooke from Vancouver in exchange for Matt Pettinger.

"On paper, we've really got a lot of depth now," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "If you look at the way Eric Fehr and Chris Bourque played, and we didn't have Viktor Kozlov. You assume Matt Cooke and Fedorov have a history of being good hockey players.

"Our depth is really good. I think we can throw four lines together that are going to come at you pretty hard. Fedorov is older but he can skate and he's intelligent and he can play positions on the point on the power play. He can do a lot of stuff, so I think we're better."

None of the new acquisitions were available - nor needed - as Washington handed Minnesota its fourth consecutive loss, including one beyond regulation.

Laich got the Capitals off to a strong start by scoring between the pads of Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom on a breakaway at 2:41 of the first period. Tomas Fleischmann was credited with one of his two assists on the tally.

"I had a great pass from Tomas Fleischmann, and he had a great pass from Milan Jurcina to give me our first goal," Laich said. "Tonight was a benefit of some of our linemen and the plays that they made. It's nice to be able to chip in offensively and be consistent with that because I think scoring by committee is something we're going to need really to make the playoffs."

Laich's second goal of the game and 13th of the season gave Washington a 4-1 lead with 93 seconds remaining in the middle session. Laich, who has four goals in his past four games, became the first Capital this season to have two goals and two assists in a game.

"I've been a little hungrier around the net," Laich said. "It's just a bit of coming of age and getting some more experience. It's nice to get breaks, too."

The 24-year-old Laich's four-point performance surpassed his previous career high of two.

"It's nice when you work hard to get rewarded," Laich said. "I don't think these four-point nights are going to come around every week, but it's nice to enjoy it tonight and get back to work tomorrow."

Laich assisted on Morrisonn's first goal in 76 games to make it 2-0 with 9:49 left in the first. Laich launched a shot and Morrisonn redirected the airborne puck off the right post and into the net.

Fehr's first goal of the season put Washington ahead, 3-1, with 4:01 remaining in the second.

"I thought the Fehr, Laich, Fleischmann line was offline today," Boudreau said. "It's great to see other people finally get some success and they get a chance to be in the limelight a little bit."

Kolzig, who has spent his entire 15-year career with Washington, was miffed by the acquisition of Huet.

"That's one area I thought we were OK at," Kolzig said. "I guess I'll talk with my wife about what we want to do next year or the year after. Maybe we'll just stay at home and raise our kids. But right now, we've got 18 games to go and hopefully the playoffs, and then we'll make a decision in the summer."

Alex Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 48 tallies, was held without a goal for a sixth straight game, matching his career-long drought.

"Alex hasn't scored in a bit and we need somebody else to score," Boudreau said. "On good teams, other people pick up the slack. (Alexander) Semin went five games in a row and now Brooks has done this, so I think it's a good combination."

Branko Radivojevic scored the Wild's goal off assists from Eric Belanger and Stephane Veilleux with 6:50 left in the second.

"Our checking line is doing a great job, but the other lines have got to play better," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "That's what scares me right now. The other lines have got to do better."

Backstrom turned aside 22 shots for Minnesota, which acquired former Capitals enforcer Chris Simon from the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

"We have got to be confident in the team that we have in here," Wild center Brian Rolston said. "And I think we are confident in the team that we do have in here. The guys that we do have in here, we have to step up, and that's what we're going to do."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 1 0 1
    WASHINGTON 2 2 0 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 12 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA)
    2:41
    WAS - SHAONE MORRISONN 1 (BROOKS LAICH, JEFF SCHULTZ) 10:11
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 4 (ERIC BELANGER, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 13:10
    WAS - ERIC FEHR

    Feb 26 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 12 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA)
    2:41
    WAS - SHAONE MORRISONN 1 (BROOKS LAICH, JEFF SCHULTZ) 10:11
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 4 (ERIC BELANGER, STEPHANE
    VEILLEUX) 13:10
    WAS

    Feb 26 8:41 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    WASHINGTON 4
    2ND PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 13 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MIKE GREEN) 18:27

    Wild 1, Capitals 4  2nd - 1:33Feb 26 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    2ND PRD: WAS - ERIC FEHR 1 (BRIAN POTHIER, BROOKS LAICH) 15:59

    Wild 1, Capitals 3  2nd - 4:01Feb 26 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: MIN - BRANKO RADIVOJEVIC 4 (ERIC BELANGER, STEPHANE VEILLEUX)
    13:10

    Wild 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 6:50Feb 26 8:29 PM
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    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    Wild 0, Capitals 2  2nd - 10:55Feb 26 8:22 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 0 0
    WASHINGTON 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 12 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA)
    2:41
    WAS - SHAONE MORRISONN 1 (BROOKS LAICH, JEFF SCHULTZ) 10:11
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 15

    Feb 26 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    1ST PRD: WAS - SHAONE MORRISONN 1 (BROOKS LAICH, JEFF SCHULTZ) 10:11

    Wild 0, Capitals 2  1st - 9:49Feb 26 7:28 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 12 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA) 2:41

    Wild 0, Capitals 1  1st - 17:19Feb 26 7:19 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 13 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA) 2:41

    Wild 0, Capitals 2  1st - 17:19Feb 26 7:18 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 12 (TOMAS FLEISCHMANN, MILAN JURCINA) 2:41

    Wild 0, Capitals 1  1st - 17:19Feb 26 7:15 PM
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