Capitals 5, Canadiens 4 OT
Scoresheet - Wash Post
The Caps may have felt a little slighted at the end of their game in Montreal a few nights ago after the Habs scored their 4th goal and pushed for a fifth. They were determined to pay Montreal back. While it wasn't the same retribution, maybe the overtime stinger that gave Alex Ovechkin his 4th goal of the game and the Capitals the win will suffice after a Canadien comeback.
Alex Ovechkin not only got the hattrick (goals 40, 41 and 42) but also netted the overtime winner 3:34 in the extra frame (his 43rd). And he did it with stitches and a broken nose. Is this kid tough or what? Viktor Kozlov scored the only other goal that was set up by none other than Ovie himself giving him 5 points on the night.
After the Habs had shut out Ovechkin the game before, they couldn't deny Ovie's tenaciousness. He was hit with a high stick early, then broke his nose on a hard hit, then the puck hit him in the face forcing the All Star winger to get stitches. Yet the gritty and spectacular forward was able to get 4 goals matching a career high and finish the night atop both the points and goal standings for the League. He is also only the second player in franchise history to record three straight seasons with 40 goals or better (Peter Bondra was the first).
Besides Ovechkin's heroics, the Caps did have a little trouble closing out the Canadiens. They jumped to a 3-0 lead only to see it squandered away in the second with some never-say-die plays the Habs were able to muster including a last second goal to end the second period to make it 3-2. Ovechkin was able to score midway through the third only to see the Canadiens to get two big goals to tie the game and force overtime. It looked like Montreal was satisfied with taking it to a shoot out, but Ovechkin had different plans.
The Caps' defense were a bit bi-polar in this game. At times they were dynamic and outstanding, then at times they looked little stiff and uncertain. The Defense sort of broke down a couple times down the stretch and the Habs were quick to capitalize. A week and a half did Olie Kolzig some good apparently, because he was outstanding in net. But Olie was able to do only so much with when rebound after rebound seemed to land on Canadiens' sticks.
The Caps jump right back in the hunt for first place in the division and a playoff birth. They have a chance to put some air between them and Atlanta, their next opponent and nipping at their heels for second in the division, on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Caps, Carolina is starting to win their games again. By beating Toronto tonight the 'Canes stay 3 points ahead of the Washington squad. The Capitals need points now then ever. Since Bruce Boudreau took the reigns of this team, the Capitals have not lost two consecutive games.