The Washington Capitals scored seven goals last night for their seventh straight victory, defeating the New York Islanders 7-2.
The remarkable thing is that with all that scoring, Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green were held off the scoresheet.
Alexander Semin scored two unassisted goals, giving him 23 on the season. And of all people, John Erskine had a two point night, with a goal and an assist. The Caps also got goals from Brendan Morrison (11), Mike Knuble (15), Jason Chimera (11) and Brooks Laich (14). And Eric Fehr added two assists.
Erskine ended a 109-game scoring drought, dating back to Jan. 19, 2008.
"I don't get them too often, so I wasn't even sure what to do when it went in," Erskine said.
But there was bad news, on both sides of the ice.
First, the Caps' streak of penalty kills was broken at 14 straight, as Rob Schremp tallied in the first on the power play for the Islanders. It was little solace for New York, as starting goalie, 40-year old Dwayne Roloson gave up four goals on 12 shots.
Backup Rick DiPietro, who has missed most of the last two seasons with knee injuries, didn't fare much better, giving up three goals on 21 shots, including Erskine's goal that snuck through his pads.
"It was just a bad game all around," DiPietro said. "When we don't play our game, things like that happen."
New York lost D Jack Hillen in the first period, after he was struck in the face by an Ovechkin slapshot. Blood pooled on the ice where Hillen laid after taking the brunt of the shot. He was assisted by medical staff, but eschewed a stretcher and left the ice under his own power. Both benches acknowledged his toughness, tapping their sticks on the ice in hockey's ultimate show of respect.
"I was worried for the young man," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You could see all of our guys went over to see if he was OK, too—Alex being the first guy. Everybody on our bench was standing up when he got up, as well as their guys."
The Caps have their own injury to worry about though. Goalie Jose Theodore did not return to the ice after the second period, and was even absent from the bench in the third period, with what the team is describing as a day-to-day lower-body injury at this point.
Michal Neuvirth came on in relief and stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period.
This morning, the Caps recalled Braden Holtby from AHL Hershey, and sent D Karl Alzner back down to make room on the roster for the young netminder. Holtby is 15-2-1 with an AHL-leading 1.82 goals against average and .935 save percentage.
The Caps turn right around and host Anaheim tonight at Verizon Center. The Ducks are 3-8-0 on the road since Dec. 23, scoring two or fewer goals in seven of those contests. They are also 0-for-12 on the power play in their last three games.
The Caps record is now 34-12-6-74 and have won nine of their last ten games. They are first in the Eastern Conference by five points over New Jersey. Anaheim is 24-22-7-55, fifth in the Pacific Division, but are 7-3-0 in their last ten.
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