Fedorov's Goal in OT Gives Capitals a 2-1 Win Over Predators

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NASHVILLE, March 10 -- Considering they surrendered a goal in the opening minute and saw two teammates get bloodied in brutal fights later in the first period, Tuesday night's game at Sommet Center couldn't have gotten off to a worse start for the slumping Washington Capitals.

But they overcame all of that early adversity, persevered despite a number of eye-popping saves by Nashville Predators goaltender Dan Ellis, then got the game-winner from Sergei Fedorov 2 minutes 20 seconds into overtime, lifting them to a 2-1 victory.

The win snapped the Capitals' season-high four-game losing streak and sent them to Philadelphia for another important game on Thursday with some much-needed confidence.

"This was a great character, courageous game," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I thought we played about as good a game as we've played in a long time."

The Capitals' emergence from their funk has been a slow process. It began with their 2-1 loss to Toronto. It continued with their 4-3 shootout loss to Pittsburgh. But now, thanks to Fedorov's timely tally, they can officially say that it's over.

In the four-on-four extra session, Alexander Semin, who extended his run of strong individual performances, passed the puck to Viktor Kozlov, who quickly zipped it to Fedorov, who buried the Capitals' 44th shot of the night behind Ellis, who earned the No. 1 star.

"It was a good character win for us," Fedorov said. "It's something we needed to shake things up. It's a great feeling. I'm very happy Viktor saw me. The rest was history."

After being frustrated by Ellis, who started in place of Calder Trophy candidate Pekka Rinne, for the opening 38 minutes of the game, the Capitals finally broke through with 1:21 remaining in the second period.

Nicklas Backstrom finished off tic-tac-toe passes from Alex Ovechkin and Kozlov to send the game into the third tied at 1. Kozlov finished with a pair of assists after going pointless in the previous five games.

Ellis, though, was even better in the third period. He made a highlight save on Backstrom, diving back with an outstretched stick to swipe the puck from midair.

"I thought, 'Hey it's a goal,' " Backstrom said. "I got it up a little bit, but he made a great save. He played great for them tonight."

Less than a minute later, an apparent go-ahead goal by Tomas Fleischmann was wiped out because the Washington winger was ruled to have directed the puck in with a distinct kicking motion.

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