for this game

Ovechkin powers Capitals past Flames

Mar 13, 2008 - 3:34 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, including the game-winner on a power play with 1:54 remaining, to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.

Six days after his 38th birthday, goaltender Olaf Kolzig made 32 saves to earn his 300th career victory and help keep the Capitals' dwindling playoff hopes alive.

The Capitals closed within five points of the Philadelphia Flyers for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They have struggled at home lately with a record of 4-4-2 in their last 10 games at Verizon Center.

"It's kind of out of our control right now," Kolzig said. "All we can do is win our hockey games and put pressure on the teams ahead of us to win the next night. ... Just by putting that pressure on the teams ahead of us, maybe they'll falter."

Ovechkin scored his league-leading 56th goal with a slap shot from beyond the right circle on a power play at 18:06 of the third period off assists from Mike Green and Eric Fehr.

The Russian superstar tallied his 55th goal on a power play with a one-timer from inside the left circle off a weak clearing pass by Calgary center Craig Conway for a 2-2 tie at 17:55 of the second period. Alexander Semin and Green assisted on the play.

Television viewers saw the introduction of the "OvechKam" broadcast on its Comcast SportsNet Plus channel. That broadcast, believed to be the first of its kind by a U.S. network, featured an isolation camera focused on Ovechkin in one box for the entire game, with the traditional game coverage in another.

"He raises his level of play when he's in the spotlight," Kolzig said of Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 56 goals and 97 points. "No matter if we're in Toronto or Montreal or any Canadian city for that matter. Or on Hockey Night in Canada or Versus. He thrives in the spotlight. He signed that big contract ($124 million over 13 years) and he actually elevated his play and that's what you want in a superstar.

"I think if we get in (the playoffs), he should be hands-down the MVP of the league. ... He's just a fantastic player and a fantastic individual."

Ovechkin has 15 points during his current six-game point-scoring streak and was named the NHL's First Star last week - the fourth time he has been named one of the league's three stars this season.

Also the First Star for the month of January, Ovechkin said the new camera had no bearing on his performance.

"I don't think about 'OvechKam,'" Ovechkin said. "Every game is like a playoff game for us. For me, it doesn't matter, 'OvechKam' or different camera."

Kolzig is 14-5-3 in his last 23 starts and has been in net for 24 of the Capitals' 32 victories (24-20-6) this season, the eighth 20-win campaign of his 17-year NHL career.

Kolzig appeared in the 700th game of his career - all with the Capitals - on February 10 against the New York Rangers. He is only the eighth player and first goaltender to play 700 games for the Capitals and ranks 20th all-time in games played by a goaltender.

Calgary managed only two shots in the final period.

"We generated two shots on net in the third period with an opportunity to come away at least with a point," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "We really didn't deserve any more than what we ended up getting tonight."

Kristian Huselius' power-play goal gave the Flames a 2-1 lead at 8:57 of the second period. Jarome Iginla and Dion Phaneuf assisted on Huselius' 23rd tally of the season.

Phaneuf's second assist of the game left him one shy of 100 for his NHL career.

Iginla, Calgary's all-time leading goal scorer, scored his 42nd goal of the season that pulled the Flames into a 1-1 tie on a power play with 45 seconds remaining in the first period off an assist from Phaneuf to tie it at 1-1.

The Flames were one of four teams that Ovechkin had not scored a goal against. Two of his favorite players as a youngster were Iginla and Owen Nolan.

"Nolan was my favorite player," Ovechkin said. "It's a dream to play with him. When you watch your favorite player and then play with him, it's unbelievable."

"He's had a lot of great nights, and tonight he was the difference," Iginla said of Ovechkin. "I thought that second goal, when our PK was doing really well, we were finding ways to keep him off. That kind of broke the bubble for them on their power play and gives them confidence. I think if we kill that and go into the third with a one-goal lead, it's a different game."

Viktor Kozlov redirected a shot by Nicklas Backstrom and past Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff to give Washington a 1-0 lead just 53 seconds into the game. Jeff Schultz also assisted on Kozlov's 15th of the season.

"There's enough Alexander Ovechkin coverage out there that you know what he's about," Flames defenseman Cory Sarich said. "There's a few other guys: Semin has got a really good set of hands and I hadn't seen Backstrom yet. Those are the guys you have to be aware of because you don't know much about them. They don't get as much coverage our way."

Washington's eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) against Calgary is its longest current streak against any opponent. With 11 games remaining, the Capitals have not lost hope of making the postseason.

"The focus right now is to continue to win and hopefully find a way to be playing in the middle of April," Kolzig said. "You look at Edmonton two years ago, I think they won eight of their last nine to get in. You saw the run they made. It's playoff hockey right now.

"If we do get in, I think we're a very dangerous team. We have to have that mentality that this is our playoffs right now and this is our first round. ... It's just the mind-set that you have to have. You have to believe that you're going to make it. We believe - we really do."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 1 1 0 2
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 15 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, JEFF SCHULTZ)
    0:53
    CGY - (PP) JAROME IGINLA 42 (DION PHANEUF) 19:15
    2ND PRD: CGY - (PP) KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 23 (JAROME IGINLA, DION
    PHANEUF) 8:57
    WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 55

    Mar 12 9:29 PM


  • NHL
    CALGARY 2
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - ALEX OVECHKIN 56 (MIKE GREEN, ERIC FEHR) 18:06

    Flames 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 1:54Mar 12 9:21 PM
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    RUWTbot Took away 57 roots (Close Finish)

    Flames 2, Capitals 3  3rd - 1:54Mar 12 9:21 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 72 roots (Close Finish)

    Flames 2, Capitals 2  3rd - 3:40Mar 12 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 1 1 2
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - VIKTOR KOZLOV 15 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, JEFF SCHULTZ)
    0:53
    CGY - (PP) JAROME IGINLA 42 (DION PHANEUF) 19:15
    2ND PRD: CGY - (PP) KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 23 (JAROME IGINLA, DION
    PHANEUF) 8:57
    WAS - (PP) ALEX

    Mar 12 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    CALGARY 2
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 55 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, MIKE GREEN)
    17:55

    Flames 2, Capitals 2  2nd - 2:05Mar 12 8:33 PM


  • NHL
    CALGARY 2
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: CGY - (PP) KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 23 (JAROME IGINLA, DION PHANEUF)
    8:57

    Flames 2, Capitals 1  2nd - 11:03Mar 12 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CALGARY 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (JEFF SCHULTZ) 0:53
    CGY - (PP) JAROME IGINLA 42 (DION PHANEUF) 19:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CGY 17 17
    WAS 8

    Mar 12 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    CALGARY 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: CGY - (PP) JAROME IGINLA 42 (DION PHANEUF) 19:15

    Flames 1, Capitals 1  1st - 0:45Mar 12 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    CALGARY 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - NICKLAS BACKSTROM 12 (JEFF SCHULTZ) 0:53

    Flames 0, Capitals 1  1st - 19:07Mar 12 7:18 PM
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    Flames vs. CapitalsMar 12 12:11 PM
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    dcnationals74 Added 5 roots

    Flames vs. CapitalsJan 24 7:50 AM