for this game

Ovechkin lifts Capitals to win over Rangers

Jan 4, 2009 - 5:52 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Alex Ovechkin's shorthanded goal late in the second period snapped a tie and lifted the Washington Capitals to a 2-1 triumph Saturday over the New York Rangers, extending their winning streak to a season-high six games and giving them their best 40-game start in franchise history.

The Capitals had a reminder of the milestone etched on a grease board in their locker room before the game.

"I think records are great to break when you get an opportunity to break them," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "No matter if it's a team record or an individual record, we usually put it on the board. Anytime you can break a record of 36 years, the players should be proud of themselves, so I'm happy they did it."

Defenseman Mike Green also scored for Washington, which improved to 26-11-3 overall and 17-1-1 on home ice.

"Especially in the third period, I thought we shut them down real well and our guys worked real hard," Boudreau said. "And that's playoff hockey - playing a really good team and you're shutting them down, and you're doing it with all four lines. It was a great effort. I thought the defense stood up and played extremely well."

Skating down the right wing, Ovechkin deked two defenders near the blue line before lifting a wrist shot over goaltender Stephen Valiquette's right shoulder with 32 seconds left in the middle period for a 2-1 lead.

"He had a number of those chances where he drags it and pauses," Valiquette said. "He's good at using the defensemen as a screen. You really have to stay focused when he's on a 1-on-1 play. I know it's hard for everyone in the league to defend him. We did the best we could."

Boudreau thought Ovechkin had extra incentive to score the winning goal.

"I just think Alex just finished missing a great chance, and when he gets that look in his eyes that he was mad that he missed a chance, you see him wanting to get it again," Boudreau said. "And you shoot the puck as hard and as well as he does, you keep shooting, things are going to go in."

Ovechkin downplayed the drama of the game-winner.

"It was the end of the shift, I just want to shoot the puck," he said. "Like I said, it was kind of a lucky goal, and sometimes you need to have luck. It was an important goal."

David Steckel notched the assist on Ovechkin's 27th goal of the season, which tied him with Philadelphia's Jeff Carter for the league lead.

The shorthanded tally was the fourth of Ovechkin's career and his first since March 2, 2006 at Ottawa. The reigning Hart Trophy winner has an eight-game goal-scoring streak at home and has notched at least one point in 13 straight contests at the Verizon Center.

The Capitals, who have won 11 of their last 12 games, surpassed the mark of the 1985-86 team that went 25-11-4 through 40 games. Washington's 26th victory of the season also is more than half the franchise-record high of 50 set in 1985-86.

"It's a great start, and we want to be able to be up in that rarified air," Boudreau said. "I don't know if we're there yet, but we certainly want to be, and if they continue to play like that - we don't have the schedule that we had in November and December."

The Capitals have two days off before returning to the ice against Philadelphia and two more before taking on Columbus.

"It gives a chance for our injured guys to come back, and I thought we played well, so it's going to be tough to make changes in the lineup," Boudreau said.

Washington also won its fifth in a row over New York, its second-longest current winning streak against any team. The Capitals posted their seventh straight victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Petr Prucha scored for the Rangers, who have lost four of five (1-3-1).

After New York's Ryan Callahan was whistled for tripping, Green's power-play goal at 11:23 of the second period forged a 1-1 tie. Green skated down the right wing and stuffed home a nice feed from Alexander Semin, who completed the pass from below the end line.

Stationed in front of the net, Prucha redirected Brandon Dubinsky's shot past goaltender Jose Theodore at 10:06 of the second to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Theodore, who stopped 21 shots, has won four straight starts.

"When he was tested, he made great saves," Boudreau said. "You could tell, the very first shot of the game was a semi-breakaway, and when he made that save, I said, 'He's on tonight. He's focused.' And when he's good, he's real good. That's why he was the MVP."

In a crisply played first period, both teams registered three shots in the first eight minutes and seven apiece overall. The Capitals outshot the Rangers, 18-8, in the second session.

After roaring to a 10-2-1 start, the Rangers have failed to win back-to-back games since.

"You're always frustrated when you lose," New York coach Tom Renney said. "It doesn't matter what it looks like, quite honestly. It's tough when it's one of those things that's preventable like a (shorthanded goal), which we've come to recognize as a real problem for us. With that said, we competed hard tonight."

"It's tough for us because we haven't done that well with our power play this year and we've given up, I believe that's No. 12 (shorthanded goals) against," Valiquette added. "We have to play harder."






  • 25
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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Rangers 1, Capitals 2  FinalJan 4 3:08 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 1 0 1
    WASHINGTON 0 2 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 3 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, NIKOLAI ZHERDEV)
    10:06
    WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 10 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    11:23
    WAS - (SH) ALEX OVECHKIN 27 (DAVID STECKEL) 19:28
    3RD PRD: NONE
    POWER-PLAY

    Jan 3 9:34 PM
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    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Rangers 1, Capitals 2  End of 2ndJan 3 8:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 1 1
    WASHINGTON 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 3 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, NIKOLAI ZHERDEV)
    10:06
    WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 10 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    11:23
    WAS - (SH) ALEX OVECHKIN 27 (DAVID STECKEL) 19:28
    SHOTS ON GOA

    Jan 3 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    WASHINGTON 2
    2ND PRD: WAS - (SH) ALEX OVECHKIN 27 (DAVID STECKEL) 19:28

    Rangers 1, Capitals 2  2nd - 0:32Jan 3 8:37 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    WASHINGTON 1
    2ND PRD: WAS - (PP) MIKE GREEN 10 (ALEXANDER SEMIN, VIKTOR KOZLOV)
    11:23

    Rangers 1, Capitals 1  2nd - 8:37Jan 3 8:17 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    WASHINGTON 0
    2ND PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 3 (BRANDON DUBINSKY, NIKOLAI ZHERDEV) 10:06

    Rangers 1, Capitals 0  2nd - 9:54Jan 3 8:14 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 0
    WASHINGTON 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 7 7
    WAS 7 7
    GOALIES: NYR - STEPHEN VALIQUETTE
    WAS - JOSE THEODORE

    Jan 3 7:37 PM
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    jjuva13 Added 5 roots

    Rangers vs. CapitalsJan 2 7:00 PM
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    xxpatriotsfan Added 5 roots

    Rangers vs. CapitalsNov 18 4:42 PM