Capitals beat Rangers, 6-5, for 12th straight win
Friday, February 5, 2010
NEW YORK -- The winning streak is alive -- but just barely.
Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and four assists to help the Washington Capitals rally from a two-goal second-period deficit and beat the New York Rangers, 6-5, in a wild yet sloppy contest that included a combined 15 minor penalties and seven power-play goals between the teams.
"We're never out of it," said Poti, whose third-period goal gave him four points in his past three games. "We can be down by one or two or three and we know that we have the offense to come back and score. We never get too down on the bench, and that's a good thing."
The win stretched the Capitals' franchise-best winning streak to 12 games. It's the longest streak since the New Jersey Devils won 13 straight in 2000-01. Keeping it going, though, was anything but guaranteed late in the second period.
The Rangers appeared to be in command after taking a 5-3 lead on a goal from Brandon Dubinsky with 1 minute 12 seconds remaining before the second intermission. But, as the Capitals have proved time and again this season, no deficit is too big for the NHL's best offense to overcome.
Ovechkin, who became the ninth player to reach 500 career points in his fifth season, sparked the comeback with one of the niftiest goals of his career at 19:51. The two-time MVP bolted into the New York zone like a runaway bull, deftly slipped the puck between defenseman Michael Rozsival's skates, then pushed the puck past Henrik Lundqvist with only his left hand on his stick.
"It will be in the top 30," Coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked to rank the goal among Ovechkin's all-time greatest. "He scores a lot of nice ones."
Boudreau added: "I thought [coming back] was going to be a real challenge, but when Alex made it 5-4 at the end of the period I thought we were right back in it."
Poti tied the game at 5 early in the third period with the second of the Capitals' three power-play goals. The defenseman fired an arching wrist shot from the point that eluded a screened Lundqvist.
"That was a rocket," Poti joked. "I saw [Mike] Knuble in front and I couldn't see the goalie's eyes, so I figured just let a shot go."
Backstrom completed the comeback, on the power play, when he hammered a deflected pass through Lundqvist to make it with 14:26 left to play.
José Theodore (33 stops) made the lead stand up to extend his career-best winning streak to nine games.