Capitals win eighth straight game, 5-1 over Ducks

The Caps blow open a tied game with three quick goals in the third period to beat the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1, at Verizon Center and equal their best winning streak in 26 years.
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 28, 2010

For much of Wednesday night's game, Jean-Sébastien Giguère frustrated Alex Ovechkin and his teammates with stop after unbelievable stop. The Washington Capitals fired 35 shots on the Anaheim Ducks goaltender through two periods, yet had only one goal to show for their effort.

But, like so many before him, Giguère could only hold back the NHL's best offense for so long.

Shaone Morrisonn, Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin scored goals on the first three shots of the third period -- all in a span 2 minutes 30 seconds -- and the Capitals cruised to a 5-1 victory at Verizon Center, their eighth win in a row.

The streak matched their longest since the team won a franchise-record 10 consecutive games during the 1983-84 season. During the run, the Capitals have outscored their opponents, 41-18.

"On a losing streak, you sit there and you go, 'Oh, man, how are we going to lose this one today?' " Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "On a winning streak, it's, 'I don't know how it's going to happen, but we're going to pull it out.' "

The Capitals are averaging a league best 3.83 goals per game -- more than a half-goal more than the second-place San Jose Sharks.

"It's nice to know you have those kinds of weapons at your disposal," Boudreau said. "When you're behind, you always know you have a chance to catch up. Some teams when they get behind, scoring is tough and they're going, 'Uh oh, how are we going to get two goals?' We have the ability to do that."

The decisive outburst began only 1:45 into the final frame when Morrisonn, a low-scoring defenseman, fired a harmless-looking shot from the point. The puck hit Ducks defenseman Steve Eminger's skate in the high slot and eluded Giguère. Morrisonn, who has 10 career goals, hadn't scored since Feb. 22, a span of 64 games.

"We just waked [up] after feel like, 'Let's go.' " said Ovechkin, who had a goal and two assists after going pointless in the Capitals' 7-2 victory over the Islanders on Tuesday.

Then, before the red-clad capacity crowd had settled, the Capitals were celebrating their third goal only 54 seconds later. Ovechkin turned Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer inside-out at the blue line, then threaded a pass to Knuble. Although the pass was slightly behind Knuble, the rugged winger managed to kick the puck to his stick and put it past Giguère.

"I think the wind went out of his sails after we got the third one," Boudreau said of Giguère, who was making his first start since Jan. 3 and appeared to tire late.

Semin then put the game out of the Ducks' reach. The winger corralled a long, lofted pass from Brooks Laich at the blue line, broke in on Giguère and beat the Ducks veteran netminder with a backhander to stretch the Capitals' lead to 4-1.

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