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Scott Walker scores two goals, including the game-winner, in the Washington Capitals' 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 5, 2010

Soon after the Washington Capitals traded for Scott Walker at Wednesday's deadline, Coach Bruce Boudreau noted how the gritty winger had a knack for scoring important goals.

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Well, it took Walker exactly one game to prove Boudreau's point.

The 36-year-old scored twice in the third period, including the winner just 41 seconds after the Tampa Bay Lightning had tied the score, as the Capitals escaped with 5-4 victory at Verizon Center.

"His history," Boudreau said after his team extended its franchise-record home winning streak to 12 games, "has been that he's in the right place at the right time."

Was he ever on Thursday.

Walker scored his first goal after gathering a deflected puck in front and backhanding it between Lightning goaltender Mike Smith's pads from the slot with 9 minutes 49 seconds left to play to put the Capitals ahead 4-2.

It should have been enough. But on a night when Washington was not at its best, a two-goal lead wasn't.

Vincent Lecavalier scored his second goal of the game only 34 seconds after Walker's, then only 1:53 after that, Steven Stamkos knotted the score 4-4 when he drilled Mattias Ohlund's centering pass past Semyon Varlamov, sucking the life out of the capacity crowd and creating a sense of doubt on the Capitals' bench.

Then Walker came to the rescue. With 6:51 remaining, Walker, who had only played six shifts through two periods, deflected Mike Green's point shot in front. The puck hit Smith's pads, but Walker, determined to make the difference, dived and swatted the rebound under the Lightning goalie, then showed the home fans his toothless smile.

"Most of you know my stats, and they're not a huge part of my game," said Walker, who has five goals in 34 games. "But everyone likes to score."

Boudreau added, referring to Walker's second goal: "I don't think it hit the back of the net, but it doesn't matter."

Walker's heroics overshadowed Mike Knuble's sixth two-goal game of the season. It also helped compensate for an ordinary performance by Varlamov, who still seems to be searching for his pre-injury form. The rookie goaltender has allowed 10 goals in his past two starts, his only NHL playing time since missing two months with groin and knee ailments.

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