Game 40 Review: Better Late Than Never

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, January 05, 2009 | , , , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals (26-11-3, first in Southeast) extended their winning streak to six games, and 13 out of 15, as they defeated the New York Rangers (23-14-3, third in Atlantic) 2-1 Saturday night at the Verizon Center before another red-clad capacity crowd.

Alex Ovechkin continues to be the most dynamic, if under-appreciated, superstar in the league, as he netted his 27th goal of the season to unlock a one-goal tie with just 32 seconds remaining in the second period.

The tie-breaker was a short-handed goal.

Ovie found out before the game that he was not selected as a starter for the Eastern Conference in next month's all-star game, a fact coach Bruce Boudreau called "dumb."

Ovechkin took a short pass from center Dave Steckel and beat two Rangers defenders to the blue line, then threw a wrist shot toward New York goalie Steve Valiquette, making only his ninth appearance of the season.

"It was the end of the shift. I wanted to just shoot the puck and go to change, but it was kind of a lucky goal," said Ovechkin.

The Rangers have allowed a league-worst 12 short-handed goals this season.

Defenseman Mike Green scored on a power play goal earlier in the second for Washington's other goal. Petr Prucha scored on a tip-in for New York.

The game featured some of the rough stuff as well, as Chris Clark squared off with Wade Redden, Michael Nylander earned a roughing taking exception to a high-stick by Scott Gomez, and even Alexander Semin mixed it up, albeit not his strong suit, with Marc Staal. Semin was returning after missing six games with a back injury.

Washington hosts the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night at 7:00 pm from Verizon Center. The Caps are 17-1-1 at home this season.

Photo by Getty Images.

WAS: Green (10) from Semin and Kozlov (2-11:23-PP); Ovechkin (27) from Steckel (2-19:28-SH

NYR: Prucha (3) from Dubinsky and Zherdev (2-10:04)

1. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
2. D. Steckel - WAS (Goals: 0, Assists: 1)
3. M. Staal - NYR (Goals: 0, Assists: 0)

Goalie Jose Theodore made 21 saves earning the victory. He has a personal five game winning streak.

The game was DC's fifth consecutive sellout and ninth this season.

Washington out shot New York 31-22.