Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Capitals Surge Past Flyers With Rally

The last time the Capitals carried a win streak, it was the Flyers that broke it, snapping Wahsington's brief two-game surge with a 6-5 overtime win in early October. Tuesday night at Verizon Center, the Capitals were able to stay hot, erasing a 2-0 Philadelphia lead late in the second period and taking a 4-2 win to move to 7-2-2 thanks to a five-game winning streak.

After a two-game drought, Alexander Ovechkin scored his 10th and 11th goals of the year and the power-play unit scored their first goal in four games as each one of the Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Semin line contributed at least a goal apiece in the victory.

The Capitals started off the night slowly, failing to convert on a 5-on-3 before falling behind 2-0 with 5:31 left in the second period. However, sparked by Ovechkin's goal with 3:52 left in the middle frame, Washington was markedly better and was able to beat Emery twice more for the difference in the contest.

The two teams traded chances out of the gate, with the Flyers nearly taking the lead five minutes in as a shot eluded Jose Theodore, but bounced off the bar post and out of harm's way.

However, with a free-flowing period, the teams traded some chances, and Theodore was called upon to make a big save with 4:22 left in the period to keep the game scoreless.

Washington's best chance of the frame when Semin broke in alone on Emery, but couldn't finish the backhand to put the Capitals on the board. The Capitals did get the first power-play chance of the game as Ole-Kristian Tollefsen was called for cross-checking with 2:09 left, but remained unable to use the extra man to their advantage and the first period ended scoreless.

However, Brendan Morrison took a penalty by hooking Chris Pronger 1:16 into the frame, and Scott Hartnell beat Theodore on a cross-ice feed from Mike Richards to put the Flyers up with 3:09 in the period. The Flyers then kept up the pressure and hit the post less than a minute later and Nicklas Backstrom was sent to the box with 3:58 elapsed in the frame, but Washington killed that minor off.

Hartnell had a golden chance to make it 2-0 with 12 minutes left in the frame, but shot the puck over a wide-open net and it remained a one-goal game. Ovechkin had a good chance to square the score just over a minute later, but couldn't get the puck past Emery before the whistle.

Washington got its second power play when the Flyers were caught with too many men on the ice with 8:48 left in the period, but Philadelphia got a break off the faceoff - but Darroll Powe was called for goaltender interference, giving the Caps a 5-on-3 for 1:41. However, despite some decent chances, the Capitals couldn't get on the board despite the two-man advantage.

Tyler Sloan was then called for hooking with 5:40 left in the frame, and the Flyers took advantage just nine seconds later, as Kimmo Timonen passed over to Braydon Coburn, who fired it past Theodore for a 2-0 edge.

However, Ovechkin put Washington on the board with 3:52 left in the frame, breaking in and beating both Timmonen and Emery with a shot for his 10th goal of the campaign and third against the Flyers this season.

Washington then got a golden chance to pull even when Mika Pyorala was whistled for holding with 2:59 left and Backstrom finally ended the Caps' power-play drought by taking a Semin feed and putting it through Emery's wickets to erase Philadelphia's two-goal lead in just a 2:08 span and send the two teams to the locker room even at two.

Washington gave Philadelphia a chance to retake the lead when Jeff Schultz was whistled for a penalty, but the Caps killed it it off, and right after Schultz came out of the box, Semin took the puck and broke in and beat Emery high to give Washington their first lead of the night with 14:36 left in regulation.

However, less than two minutes later, Tom Poti was called for tripping Rowe on a breakeaway and the Flyers were awarded a penalty shot, but Theodore was able to stop the shot to keep the Caps in front.

Philadelphia then got another chance to put their potent power play to work when Mike Knuble was whistled for hooking with 8:47 gone in the frame, but Washington's penalty-killing was up to the task.

Ovechkin capped the night with an empty-netter with :45.1 left in the third, giving him the league lead with 11, surging past Marian Gaborik and Anze Kopitar.

Theodore was up to the task with the lead as well, stopping 41 of 43 Philadelphia chances - several good ones - to earn his second straight win since coming back from injury.

Washington has a busy stretch the next few days, heading to Atlanta Thursday night before returning home to face the Islanders and Blue Jackets on Friday and Sunday. The Caps have beaten the Thrashers and Islanders on their current streak, and will look to earn their sixth straight win against an Atlanta club missing Ilya Kovalchuk at Philips Arena Thursday night.

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