In a back-and-forth firewagon affair, the Washington Capitals had the last laugh, as Tomas Fleischmann ended sudden death overtime with a one-timer past goalie Manny Legace to give the Caps a 4-3 victory over their division rivals, the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-3, before another packed house at Verizon Center.
With less than two minutes remaining in overtime, newly acquired center Eric Belanger carried the puck into the offensive end calmly, and held the puck long enough to draw both defensemen. He then fed a streaking Fleischmann near the right wing face off dot, who fired a laser past the veteran Legace.
It was Fleischmann's 19 goal of the season, and give the Caps their 45th win of the campaign, and 99 points for the season, with 15 games to play.
Mike Green scored twice on the power play (16, 17), and Alexander Semin started the scoring with his 31st of the year, a nifty backhand after breaking in clean.
Jose Theodore was very strong in net, making 28 saves, including a first period penalty shot by Brandon Sutter, who was tripped form behind by Green on a turnover-induced breakaway while the Caps were on a power play.
As is typical of Caps-Canes games, this one was fast-paced and spirited. Coupled with four players changing sides at the trade deadline--all of whom were in the lineup--and perhaps there was a bit extra on the line tonight.
Scott Walker and Joe Corvo suited up against recent former teammates for the Capitals, while Brain Pothier and AHL Hershey star Oskar Osala, who was called up today as an injury replacement, faced their old team for the first time since being traded at the NHL trade deadline Mar. 3.
For the second game in a row, the Caps held a lead of 2-0 before eventually being tied and forced to overtime. Unlike Monday, when Dallas held in OT and won on penalty shots, the Caps ended things in the extra frame.
The Caps host another division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Friday at 7:00 pm.