Short-handed Capitals Fall Short in Overtime

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 19, 2006

BOSTON, Nov. 18 -- The Washington Capitals limped into TD Banknorth Garden missing three of their four top scorers and a defenseman. They were also playing for the second night in a row.

It had all the makings of a lopsided loss. It never materialized.

Instead, Alex Ovechkin and the undermanned Capitals gave the surging Boston Bruins all they could handle, before losing, 3-2, in overtime on a power-play goal by Glen Murray before 16,837.

Murray's wrist shot from the slot at 2 minutes 6 seconds of overtime clinched the Bruins' fourth consecutive victory and saddled the Capitals with their third straight defeat.

"It's not disappointing," Coach Glen Hanlon said. "When you're missing your captain and your top centerman and your third or fourth point getter, you'll take the point."

And the Capitals had Ovechkin and Brent Johnson to thank for putting them in position to earn it.

Ovechkin forced overtime with a power-play goal of his own at 16:59 of the third period. One of the league's best players in the clutch, the powerful left winger rifled a one-timer between Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas's skate and the near goal post.

But without Johnson, Ovechkin likely wouldn't have had that opportunity. The backup netminder kept the Capitals close all night, making 35 saves, including stopping a penalty shot by Marco Sturm midway through the third period. Thomas, meantime, finished with 27 saves.

"Missing those guys, we knew we were missing some key guys, some skilled guys, guys who put the puck in the net," Johnson said. "But we were happy with who we had in the locker room."

Capitals forwards Dainius Zubrus, Chris Clark and Alexander Semin and defenseman Steve Eminger were out of the lineup with various injuries.

"When you go through injuries you hope it's not a guy who is averaging 17 or 18 minutes," Hanlon said before the game. "You've taken three players off your power play and one player off the penalty kill. And we didn't have a day to practice."

"But all teams go through it," he added. "And this is our turn."

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