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Capitals' top line puts it together in comeback

Jose Theodore stops 41 shots and the Capitals' top line combines for nine points against the Flyers in a 4-2 victory at Verizon Center.
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By Tarik El-Bashir
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ray Emery knelt on the ice, bowed his head and slumped his shoulders after Alexander Semin's wrist shot beat him over the blocker pad. It's almost as if the Philadelphia Flyers' goalie had just realized there's little the opposition can do when the Washington Capitals put it all together like they did in the third period Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

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Semin scored the go-ahead goal early in the third, goaltender José Theodore stopped all 20 shots he faced in the period and Alex Ovechkin scored his second goal of the night into an empty net to clinch the Capitals' fifth straight victory, 4-2, before a sellout crowd.

"That was two teams that really wanted to win," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When they outworked us, they had a 2-0 lead. And in the last half of the second [period], we outworked them and tied it up, got a lucky goal in the third and we hung on."

Boudreau reunited his three best forwards -- Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Semin -- on the top line before the game in an effort to get them going. They delivered a vintage performance and sparked Washington's second straight comeback from a 2-0 deficit.

With a goal and three assists from Backstrom, the trio combined for all four goals and nine points.

"Who knows where it will be Thursday," Boudreau said. "But for one game, they were very good."

It was Theodore, though, who earned the game's first star. In addition to making 41 saves, his most as a Capital, he turned back Darroll Powe on a penalty shot early in the third period to preserve a 3-2 edge. Theodore, who has stopped 6 of 8 penalty shots he's faced in his career, has a 2.04 goals against average and a .939 save percentage in his last five starts.

"Like I said, in training camp I said it was the best I felt since the lockout," Theodore said. "Sooner or later, people are going to realize I didn't say that just for fun."

"That I've seen," Boudreau added, when asked if that was Theodore's best game since coming to Washington. "I'm sure he's had many more better than that. But he was really solid in net."

After falling behind 2-0 and failing to score on a lengthy five-on-three power play, things turned in the Capitals' favor late in the second.

"We got [ticked] off; we were so angry that we couldn't score," Backstrom said of coming up short with a two-man advantage for 1 minute 41 seconds.

Ovechkin added, "We try to use our skill, not simple play, and that's why we didn't score."


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