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Laich, Ovechkin help Capitals add to woes of Devils

Nov 15, 2008 - 5:39 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- The Washington Capitals are making the Verizon Center one of the toughest places to play in the NHL.

Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin each recorded a goal and an assist, leading the Capitals to a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Tomas Fleischmann also tallied and Jose Theodore stopped 32 shots for Washington, which has won five straight.

The Capitals are 13-0-1 in their last 14 regular-season home games, dating back to last season. They have allowed two or fewer goals in six straight contests overall - their longest such streak in a single campaign since February 24-March 4, 2003.

"We're sending the message that we're a tough team to beat at home," said Theodore, who started in place of the injured Brent Johnson. "We've been playing really hard. We missed some goals. It could've been a three- or four-goal lead for us."

Reigning Jack Adams Award winner Bruce Boudreau is thrilled with his team's defensive play.

"It's been four or five games in a row now that we've allowed just one or two goals," said the coach, whose team improved to 7-0-1 at home this season.

"If we can keep that up, I think our team is going to score some goals over the course of the year, so I think the solid defense is a much better indication of success than the goals scored."

The win was tempered by the loss of Alexander Semin, who left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. Semin, who entered with a league-leading 27 points, is listed as day-to-day.

The 24-year-old registered three shots on goal in 12 1/2 minutes of ice time. But the Capitals received some good news afterward.

"He'll be fine tomorrow, as far as I know," Boudreau said.

Patrik Elias scored the lone goal for New Jersey, which has lost four in a row and hosts Washington on Saturday.

"The best thing is that we get to play right away again," Devils coach Brent Sutter said. "We've got to fight through this."

The Devils have sorely missed goaltender Martin Brodeur, who is out three to four months following elbow surgery. New Jersey has allowed 18 goals in six games without the four-time Vezina Trophy winner.

Scott Clemmensen stopped 24 shots in his first start since January 1 as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it was not good enough. Clemmensen started in place of Kevin Weekes, who was pulled after allowing four goals in the second period of Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

Laich put the Capitals up, 1-0, with a power-play tally at 9:52 of the first period, when he deflected Ovechkin's wrist shot from the left faceoff circle into the left side of the net.

"Laich made a good play," Clemmensen said. "He was right in front, screening me. After Ovechkin took the shot, I heard a clap like it was deflected, and then I lost it. Give him credit, it was a good play. They have a very dangerous power play."

Fleischmann blasted a one-timer from the left circle past Clemmensen with 1:29 left in the second period for a 2-0 lead. Former Devil Viktor Kozlov recorded his 500th career point with an assist on the goal.

"Fleischmann deserved the goal," Boudreau said. "I thought he was by the far the best player on the ice tonight on both teams."

The Devils halved the deficit at 11:55 of the third, when Elias took advantage of a line change and broke free. He skated down the middle of the ice and fired a wrist shot between the pads of Theodore.

"They got caught on the change, obviously, there," Elias said. "I knew I was going in all alone, so I took my time."

"We had a bad change, and it's unfortunate because Theo deserved the shutout," Boudreau said.

The breakdown proved irrelevant, however, as Ovechkin added an empty-netter with 21 seconds left to seal the victory. The reigning Hart Trophy winner has scored in three straight games after a career-worst nine-game goalless drought.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 4 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN) 9:52
    2ND PRD: WAS - TOMAS FLEISCHMANN 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, MIKE GREEN) 18:31
    3RD PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 5 (BRIAN GIONTA, JOHNNY ODUYA) 11:55
    WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHKIN

    Nov 14 9:27 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    WASHINGTON 3
    3RD PRD: WAS - (EN) ALEX OVECHKIN 5 (NICKLAS BACKSTROM, BROOKS LAICH)
    19:39

    Devils 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:21Nov 14 9:23 PM
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    Devils 1, Capitals 3  3rd - 0:21Nov 14 9:23 PM
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    Devils 1, Capitals 2  3rd - 0:28Nov 14 9:20 PM
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    Devils 1, Capitals 2  3rd - 6:25Nov 14 9:09 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    3RD PRD: NJD - PATRIK ELIAS 5 (BRIAN GIONTA, JOHNNY ODUYA) 11:55

    Devils 1, Capitals 2  3rd - 8:05Nov 14 9:08 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) BROOKS LAICH 4 (ALEX OVECHKIN, MIKE GREEN) 9:52
    2ND PRD: WAS - TOMAS FLEISCHMANN 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, ALEX OVECHKIN)
    18:31
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 1

    Nov 14 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 0
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - TOMAS FLEISCHMANN 5 (VIKTOR KOZLOV, ALEX OVECHKIN)
    18:31

    Devils 0, Capitals 2  2nd - 1:29Nov 14 8:31 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NEW JERSEY 0 0
    WASHINGTON 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 5 (MIKE GREEN, ERIC FEHR) 9:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NJD 13 13
    WAS 11 11
    GOALIES: NJD - SCOTT CLEMMENSEN


    Nov 14 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    NEW JERSEY 0
    WASHINGTON 1
    1ST PRD: WAS - (PP) ALEX OVECHKIN 5 (MIKE GREEN, ERIC FEHR) 9:52

    Devils 0, Capitals 1  1st - 10:08Nov 14 7:27 PM
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    Devils vs. CapitalsNov 14 6:25 PM