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Laich, Ovechkin propel Capitals past Thrashers

Mar 15, 2008 - 4:09 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Brooks Laich scored twice and Alex Ovechkin and Matt Cooke each had a goal and an assist to guide the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night.

Sergei Fedorov recorded two assists and Olaf Kolzig needed to make just 11 saves for the Capitals (34-30-8), who climbed within three points of the idle Philadelphia Flyers (35-27-9) for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

In posting its fourth win in six games, Washington also kept alive its hopes for the Southeast Division crown. The Capitals climbed within five points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes (38-30-5), who lost to the Buffalo Sabres.

"We just keep going," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You can't say what anybody else is going to do. At least, if everything fell perfectly, we control a little bit of our destiny with a game in hand and two against Carolina. That's where we want to be. We want to have a chance."

After Vyacheslav Kozlov scored his 16th goal of the season on a slap shot from the right faceoff circle at 11:41 of the first period to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead, Washington took control of the game.

Laich singlehandedly gave the Capitals a 2-1 edge, scoring with 5:08 remaining in the first and adding his 19th goal of the season just 2:18 into the middle period.

From behind the net, Viktor Kozlov attempted a pass to Ovechkin, who was standing to the left of the crease. The league leader in both goals and points, Ovechkin only managed to get a piece of his stick on the puck while being hounded by a defender, however.

While standing in the slot, Laich gathered the loose puck and fired it over goaltender Kari Lehtonen to even the game at 1-1.

"When we were tied 1-1 after the first period, we knew we had to push and really bear down and get the next one," Laich said. "Once we got to two, we wanted to get three because we didn't want them to hang around."

After Lehtonen denied Cooke early in the second, Laich got the rebound and stuffed the puck past the Finn to cap his third two-goal performance in nine games.

"I pulled it off my backhand," Laich said. "I don't know if it went off my skate. Cookie made a great tip of it, he was an inch away from scoring. I just tried to pull it. It wasn't a pretty one.

"If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net. I was told that as a kid, and it's really sunk in the last couple of months."

Defenseman Sami Lepisto, who was recalled from the minors earlier in the day, notched his first career point on the play with an assist.

Cooke scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 5:19 to go in the second before Ovechkin buried a slap shot from the left circle during a power play 67 seconds into the third for his league-high 57th goal and a 4-1 cushion.

Ovechkin, who has 99 points, is three goals away from becoming the first player to reach 60 in a season since Mario Lemieux (69) and Jaromir Jagr (62) accomplished the feat for Pittsburgh in 1995-96.

The All-Star Russian also is one point shy of becoming the first player in franchise history to record two 100-point seasons. He originally did so with an assist on Laich's second goal, but an official scoring change later erased his 100th point.

"That's OK, I still have lots of games left," Ovechkin said. "More important than scoring 100 points, it's more fun winning. Right now, our team is playing well and we just have to continue doing what's happening, you know?

"It's an interesting time right now. Everybody is concentrating about the game and we still have 10 games left. Carolina lost, and now we just have to continue the same way."

Lehtonen made 33 saves for Atlanta, which registered just two shots on goal in the first period and four in the second. Last season's Southeast champions, the Thrashers (31-34-8) remained nine points behind the Flyers for eighth in the conference.

"You've got to give the Caps a lot of credit because I think they did a heck of a job shutting us down, and they kept coming," Thrashers coach Don Waddell said. "They got up 3-1 and they didn't sit back at all. We had our hands full."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 0 1
    WASHINGTON 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 16 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, ERIC PERRIN)
    11:41
    WAS - BROOKS LAICH 18 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV) 14:52
    2ND PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 19 (MATT COOKE, SAMI LEPISTO) 2:18
    WAS - (SH) MATT COOKE 9 (SERGE

    Mar 14 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 4
    3RD PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 57 (MIKE GREEN, SERGEI FEDOROV) 1:07

    Thrashers 1, Capitals 4  3rd - 18:53Mar 14 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 0 1
    WASHINGTON 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 16 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, ERIC PERRIN)
    11:41
    WAS - BROOKS LAICH 18 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV) 14:52
    2ND PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 19 (SAMI LEPISTO, ALEX OVECHKIN) 2:18
    WAS - (SH) MAT

    Mar 14 8:40 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    2ND PRD: WAS - (SH) MATT COOKE 9 (SERGEI FEDOROV, SHAONE MORRISONN)
    14:41

    Thrashers 1, Capitals 3  2nd - 5:19Mar 14 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 19 (SAMI LEPISTO, ALEX OVECHKIN) 2:18

    Thrashers 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 17:42Mar 14 8:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATLANTA 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 16 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, ERIC PERRIN)
    11:41
    WAS - BROOKS LAICH 18 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV) 14:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ATL 2

    Mar 14 7:46 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - BROOKS LAICH 18 (ALEX OVECHKIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV) 14:52

    Thrashers 1, Capitals 1  1st - 5:08Mar 14 7:34 PM


  • NHL
    ATLANTA 1
    WASHINGTON 0
    1ST PRD: ATL - VYACHESLAV KOZLOV 16 (COLBY ARMSTRONG, ERIC PERRIN)
    11:41

    Thrashers 1, Capitals 0  1st - 8:19Mar 14 7:33 PM
  • 5
    roots
    dcnationals74 Added 5 roots

    Thrashers vs. CapitalsJan 24 7:50 AM