The Washington Capitals exploded for three goals in a two and a half minute span in the third period, to beat up the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. The win was Washington’s eighth win a row, equaling their longest string of victories since the 1983-84 season when they had ten.
Alex Ovechkin brought fans at the Verizon Center to their feet less than a minute into the game with an easy tap in, when Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere was out of position. After the game, Alex said that his 34th goal of the season was “the easiest goal of my career probably.” Mike Knuble and Mike Green picked up assists on the play, and the Caps were up 1-0 just thirty-nine seconds in.
Despite plenty of chances, it stayed that way until mid-way through the second period when Anaheim capitalized on a bad clearing attempt by Alexander Semin. Sheldon Brookbank picked up the loose puck in the slot and hammered a shot that Michal Neuvirth kicked out; but the rebound bounced straight on to Dan Sexton’s stick, and he fired the equalizer into the yawning cage.
Going into the last period knotted at one, the Caps blew the doors off the barn with goals on three consecutive shots.
Shaone Morrison made it 2-1 on a fairly harmless wrist shot from the point that appeared to deflect off of a Ducks defender. Known more for his stalwart defense, it was Morrison’s first goal of the season. Throw the puck at the net and good things will happen – especially when you’re on a seven game winning streak.
Washington’s third goal of the evening was probably the game’s best. Ovechkin absolutely undressed Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer with a beautiful move as he broke into the offensive zone. When the other Anaheim defender James Wisniewski slid over to take Ovi on the two-on-one, the Great 8 slid a pass over to Knuble, who found himself with an open net and soon after, his sixteenth goal of the season.
That goal seemed to suck the wind out of the Ducks’ sails because it was tough to understand where their defense went on the goal that made it 4-1. Brooks Laich harmlessly slapped the puck out of the Caps zone, and somehow nobody bothered to watch, or to catch Semin who was buzzing down the right boards. He picked the puck up inside Anaheim’s blue line at full speed and broke in on the Ducks net; Semin faked a shot and then pulled it across the crease to his backhand and lifted it past a helpless Giguere.
Semin rounded out the scoring later in the period on a 5-on-3 power play. He pulverized a one-timer from a nifty Nicklas Backstrom cross crease pass for his second of the night, and his twenty-fifth of the season.
Bruce Boudreau may not actually be credited with any assists, but give him four of them on the four third period Caps goals. Both Washington and Anaheim were playing the second night of back-to-back games, but the Capitals were noticeably fresher late in the game. Coach Boudreau not only rolled all four lines pretty evenly on Wednesday night, but he did in Tuesday’s victory as well. Anaheim just couldn’t keep pace in the final period.
The win gave the Caps 76 points on the season to lead the Eastern Conference – six points ahead of the New Jersey Devils who have a game in hand. Washington are now a stunning nineteen points ahead of their closest Southeast Division foes, and trail the league leading San Jose Sharks by just two points.
The Caps’ next game is Friday night at the Verizon Center against the Florida Panthers, puck drops at 7:00pm and tickets are still available.
Other Game Notes:
Michal Neuvirth was solid in goal for Washington, stopping 30 of 31 shots to pick up his seventh win of the season… The Caps pasted Ducks keeper Giguere with 49 shots – 19 in the first period alone… nine Caps registered over 15 minutes of ice time against the Ducks… attendance was announced as 18,277 – lots of people rockin’ the red these days.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway