Game 33 Review: Caps Rally To Kick the Blues 4-2

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, December 19, 2008 | , , , , , , | 0 comments »

The Washington Capitals played a largely uninterested, uninteresting game against an inferior opponent until late in the second period when Viktor Kozlov and Tomas Fleischmann scored just 40 seconds apart to spark the Caps to a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues before 18,277 at the Verizon Center.

The Caps (20-10-3-43, first in Southeast) have won five in a row, and 20 on the season, the fastest any Caps team has reached that mark since the 1992-93 season.

Kozlov had two goals and an assist to lead the Caps offense, but the big story was 20-year old goalie Simeon Varlamov. He made 29 saves, none bigger than the kick save he made against veteran Keith Tkachuk with just under six minutes to play.

It was just Varlamov's second NHL start, and this one came with his father in attendance. Varlamov will probably return to Hershey when Jose Theodore is pronounced fit, but he shown plenty in his two games, saving 61 of 64 shots (.953 save percentage) in two victories.

The win did have a cost, however. Both Alexander Semin and Mike Green left in the third period with injuries, and neither player returned. Reports have Green "tweaking" his sore shoulder, but Semin's discomfort was a direct result of being targeted by a rival player.

Blues winger David Backes gave Semin a hard--but legal--check, knocking Semin to the ice. As Semin tried to regain his feet, Backes gave him another two-handed cross-check to the small of the back, roughly the same area Semin had been nursing when he missed 12 games earlier this month. As Semin lay in pain on the ice, Alex Ovechkin came to the defense of his teammate and countryman, levelling Backes, and both teams came together for a scrum.

Remarkably, no penalties were meted out by referee Mike Leggo.

Ovechkin scored the team's fourth goal, his 20th of the season, on a power play just 13 seconds into the third period.

The Caps are off until Saturday afternoon, when they travel to face the Philadelphia Flyers at 1:00 PM from the Wachovia Center. Coach Bruce Boudreau just hopes Semin and Green can make the trip with the rest of the team.

1. V. Kozlov - WAS (Goals: 2, Assists: 1)
2. S. Varlamov - WAS (Saves: 29, Save Pct: .935)
3. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)