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Ovechkin, Caps Miss the Point
Bruins 3, Capitals 2

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 7, 2007; E03

Since joining the NHL, Washington Capitals all-star Alex Ovechkin never had gone three consecutive games without recording a point.

Until last night, that is.

Ovechkin was limited to two shots, was in the penalty box when the Boston Bruins forced overtime and misfired on his attempt in the shootout in the Capitals' 3-2 loss at Verizon Center. Afterward, the 21-year-old appeared as frustrated as he's been during his first season-and-a half in the league.

"Today was my terrible game of my whole career," Ovechkin said softly. "It's not my game."

Frustration has been building for the Russian left wing as the Capitals, who have lost six of eight, drift further from the playoff race. Following Saturday's loss in Pittsburgh, where Ovechkin's drought began, he tossed his stick in a trash can and slammed the locker room door. Last night, the normally cheerful winger barely raised his eyes or brought his voice above whisper.

"It's not the worst thing in the world to face a little adversity as far as scoring," Capitals Coach Glen Hanlon said. "It's a test here" for Ovechkin, who spent most of the night battling Boston's 6-foot-9 Zdeno Chara, one of the best defensemen in the game.

Despite Ovechkin's ineffectiveness, the Capitals came back from an early 1-0 deficit on third-period goals by Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr, whose tally at 7 minutes 48 seconds of the third period gave the Capitals a 2-1 edge.

It didn't last.

With Ovechkin in the penalty box for delay of game (he put the puck over the glass), Patrice Bergeron forced overtime with a one-timer that evened the score at 2 with 6:45 remaining in the tight-checking contest.

"It's my fault," Ovechkin said. "I have penalty. So it's my fault we lose the game. It's not my game."

As for facing Chara, he said: "He's a good defenseman. I don't have chance to shoot."

In the tiebreaker, Bergeron and rookie Phil Kessel each beat Capitals goaltender Olie Kolzig (22 saves). Alexander Semin scored for Washington, but Ovechkin skated in too deep and wound up stuffing his shot off the side of the goal; he is 1 of 7 on shootouts this season. Fehr also was stopped by Tim Thomas (32 saves).

The home team dominated the scoreless opening 20 minutes, outshooting the Bruins 10-2. The two shots were the fewest Washington had allowed in a period this season. Although the Capitals continued to control play early in the second period, Boston took a 1-0 lead when Brandon Bochenski scored his first goal as a Bruin at 5:06. Bochenski was acquired from Chicago on Saturday.

As Boston's Marc Savard and Washington's Dainius Zubrus tussled for the puck off a faceoff deep in the Capitals' zone, it finally squirted out of the maze of legs and sticks and out to Bochenski. The right winger swept the puck past Kolzig, who got a piece of it but couldn't keep it from trickling into the net. It was the fifth shot of the game for Boston.

In the third period, Laich evened the score, 1-1, at 21 seconds of the final frame with an unassisted goal. The center scooped up a loose puck near the top of the circle after it had deflected off Boston's Shean Donovan and fired it over Thomas's catching glove.

Fehr's rebound goal gave Washington a 2-1 lead later in the period. The assists were awarded to Richard Zednik, who took the original shot, and Mike Green, who dived headfirst at the blueline to keep the puck in the zone.

But Ovechkin accidentally cleared the puck off the rink and Savard set up Bergeron with a slick cross-ice pass as the Capitals' star watched helplessly from the penalty box.

"Sometimes that happens, you know," Ovechkin said before walking away.

Capitals Notes: After going 0 for 3 on the power play, the Capitals extended their futility with the man advantage to 0 for 11 the past three games. . . . Backup goaltender Brent Johnson has been put on injured reserve retroactive to last Thursday with an undisclosed injury. He missed his fourth game and was replaced on the bench by minor leaguer Frederic Cassivi. The healthy scratches were Kris Beech, Lawrence Nycholat and Matt Bradley. . . . Bruins right wing Glen Murray (groin muscle injury) and left wing Marco Sturm (concussion) were sidelined.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company