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Capitals deliver a command performance

By Tarik El-Bashir
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

DENVER -- For the second straight game, the Washington Capitals jumped out to two-goal first-period lead in another team's arena. This time, however, a total team effort led by Tomas Fleischmann and José Theodore ensured there would be no letdown.

Fleischmann notched his fourth two-goal game of the season, and Theodore made 26 saves in his return to Pepsi Center, where the Capitals crushed the upstart Colorado Avalanche, 6-1, in one of their most complete performances of the year.

"We had a 2-0 lead because of the way things we were doing and we didn't want to change," winger Brooks Laich said. "You're starting to see our team grow and learn from our past mistakes."

But the news was not all good in the visitors' dressing room here. Mike Green, Washington's No. 1 defenseman, missed the third period after absorbing a punishing check from David Koci late in the second. Green's head took the brunt of the blow and afterward, the defenseman sported stitches above his left eye, which was also black and blue.

Koci also left defenseman Shaone Morrisonn hurting, though the nature and extent of his injury was not known. Green said he was "okay," while Boudreau called Morrisonn questionable for Friday's game in Vancouver.

Koci, who received a five-minute penalty for boarding, five minutes for fighting John Erskine and a game misconduct, could face supplementary discipline from the NHL for his hit on Green.

"I hope they throw the book at him," Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Koci.

"He couldn't play in the American league. If you're looking to get things out of the game ... If this was any game, he gets on the ice in the first three minutes. He gets into his fight with the [other team's enforcer] and then he sits at the end of the bench and that's it. So what good is he?"

"To me that's just a bush-league hit," Boudreau added.

Green and Morrisonn have two days to heal before facing the Canucks, and the Capitals have 48 hours to savor a big win over the Western Conference's second-best team.

Just like Saturday night's 6-3 loss in Toronto, the Capitals took a 2-0 lead in the first period.

"We looked at it and talked about [how Toronto] might have been a cheap lesson," Boudreau said. "We couldn't let it happen again."

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