Washington Capitals' winning streak ends at 14 games with loss to Montreal

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 11, 2010

MONTREAL -- Brooks Laich scored with 19 seconds remaining in regulation to rally the Washington Capitals from a three-goal deficit and force the game to overtime Wednesday night. But, as it turned out, his third goal of the night only delayed the demise of a historic run.

Tomas Plekanec capitalized on a defensive zone breakdown, in a game full of them for the Capitals, with eight seconds left in the extra session to lift the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-5 win at Bell Centre that ended Washington's winning streak at 14 games.

"This is 14 times worse than just one loss," winger Tomas Fleischmann said. "This one hurts worse that the others. I'm really upset right now. We had opportunities to win it, but we played really sloppy on our defensive zone. You can't win if you play that sloppy."

After falling behind 5-2 late in the second period, the Capitals put fans on the edge of their seats with goals from Mike Green, on the power play, and Laich, on an odd man break, that whittled Washington's deficit to a single goal.

Laich then completed his hat trick when he redirected a pass between Carey Price's pads. But the Capitals faltered in the waning seconds of a wide open, four-on-four overtime period. Plekanec sneaked down low and scored his second goal of the game, tapping in a crossing pass from Sergei Kostitsyn (three assists) on a play Coach Bruce Boudreau said underscored a poor effort by his blueliners.

"There was a breakdown," Boudreau said. "Someone had to take that guy. I think it was a culmination of how our defense played most of the night. They weren't good."

Brian Pothier, one of the two defensemen on the ice, added: "He made a good pass through. It was a nice play. But [Jeff] Schultz and I, if we had a redo, would have done things a little bit different."

Like that, a "once in a lifetime" streak, one that is tied for the second longest in NHL history, was over.

"For a lot of us, it's a once in a lifetime thing," Boudreau said. "You think it's going to happen again. But those things don't come back again. But give our players a lot of credit for intestinal fortitude they had to put this thing together. There's a reason only two teams in the history of the National Hockey League have gone longer."

He added: "In the age of the salary cap, there's no easy games to play. So I would have to say that 17 games for Pittsburgh might have been a tad easier, or the 15 games for the Islanders in the 1980s was [easier] than what we did in 2010."

For most of the night, the Capitals found themselves fighting from behind. They gave up a goal 36 seconds into the contest to Scott Gomez. Then they surrendered four more during a wretched second period that featured a goaltending change, a combined five goals, two video reviews and a pair of Montreal strikes 12 seconds apart.

After not yielding a goal in the opening minute of a period all season, the Capitals did it for the second time in the same game when Tom Pyatt notched his first NHL goal off of a deflected shot at 41 seconds of the second that put the Canadiens ahead 2-1.

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