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Capitals-Islanders Review: Ovechkin Makes Up For Mistake, Nets OT Game Winner

Dave NicholsSenior Analyst IJanuary 19, 2009

 

Alex Ovechkin made up for a rare mistake and scored a power play goal 1:46 into overtime, allowing the Washington Capitals to escape with a 2-1 win over the NHL's worst team, the New York Islanders.

It was Washington's third straight win, and New York's eighth straight loss.

Ovechkin scored both of his team's goals, both on the power play. Despite out shooting the Islanders 38-28, Washington (30-14-3-63) played a lackluster, sloppy game and should consider themselves lucky that their talent eventually carried the day. Turnovers, penalties, and poor shots were more the rule than good play during this matinee affair.

The victory moves the Caps two points closer to the top of the NHL's Eastern Conference, as the Boston Bruins dropped a 5-4 OT decision to the St. Louis Blues. With one game to play before the all-star break, the Caps find themselves just eight points behind Boston in the East.

This is the fastest the Washington franchise has reached 30 wins for the season since the 1994-95 team.

The game winner came with former Cap Brendan Witt in the box for slashing Ovechkin. Veteran center Sergei Federov brought the puck in the offensive zone and pulled up at the circle. As he slid to a stop, he lost his edge, but not before getting just enough on a drop pass to streaking winger Alexander Semin.

Semin brought the puck in deep and slid it through the crease to Ovechkin, who lifted the puck top shelf to beat Islanders rookie goalie Yann Danis, who played a terrific game in his own right. The OT winner was Ovechkin's 31st goal of the year, momentarily taking the NHL goal scoring lead over Philadelphia's Jeff Carter.

The Islanders tied the game courtesy to a two-man advantage late in the third period. With just five seconds removed from a Niklas Backstrom tripping penalty, Alex Ovechkin attempted a clear, but the puck held his stick just a little too long and he lofted the rubber off the playing surface, drawing a two-minute delay of game penalty.

The Caps were able to kill about a minute of the five-on-three, but Franz Nielsen found Kyle Okposo on a cross-crease pass and Okposo buried it behind Jose Theodore for his sixth goal of the season. The shot would be the only Islander attempt to beat Theodore, who owns the best record against the Islanders of any active goaltender.

Washington finishes the "first half" of the season with a game tomorrow night against the Ottawa Senators at 7:00 pm from Scotiabank Place.
SCORESHEET

1ST PERIOD
06:35 Power Play - Alex Ovechkin (30), Slap Shot. Assist: Green, Laich

2ND PERIOD
None

3RD PERIOD
12:18 Power Play - Kyle Okposo (6), Wrist Shot. Assist: Nielsen, Streit

OT
01:46 Power Play - Alex Ovechkin (31), Wrist Shot. Assist: Semin, Fedorov
THREE STARS
1. A. Ovechkin - WAS (Goals: 2, Assists: 0)
2. K. Okposo - NYI (Goals: 1, Assists: 0)
3. J. Theodore - WAS (Saves: 27, Save Pct: .964)
NOTES
Daren Machesney was recalled from AHL Hershey before the game to back up Theodore. Brent Johnson is being given a couple games around the all-star game to rest several nagging injuries.
Eric Fehr and David Steckel were healthy scratches.

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