Capitals-Stars: Russians Prove They Are the Kings of Hockey

Jennifer JohnsonAnalyst IOctober 26, 2008

The Washington Capitals found their scoring touch and earned two points in last night’s entertaining performance in front of an appreciative crowd in Dallas.

The Caps salvaged a win after losing the first two games of this three-game West Coast road trip. Both teams struggled defensively, but the Caps were the beneficiary of good passing and timely wrist shots as they finished off the Stars in overtime by the score of 6-5.  

Sergei Federov tallied the Caps' first goal of the night on the power play, slapping a swift wrister past the sprawling G-man Marty Turco to even the score at 1-1 at the 12:38 mark of the first period.

Sean Avery, resident bad boy in Big D, flicked a wrist shot to beat Jose “No Way” Theodore, and opened the offensive assault by capitalizing on the juicy rebound the Caps' netminder left for him.

But have no fear, Caps fans, Mr. October saved the day. Federov was able to get his 474th career goal, tying teammate and fellow Russkie Alexander Mogilny for the all-time goals leader of Russian-born players. On a list that also included oft-injured winger Pavel Bure (437), kudos to Sergei for announcing emphatically that he certainly has some gas left in his well-traveled tank. 

No. 91 tallied the record-breaking goal in the second period, on a nice feed from Alex Semin through the crease that gently landed on the fat part of his stick for his 475th goal, and his third of this young 2008-09 season. 

Federov had this to say about the record: “It was nice on a personal level, but most importantly we won the game."

Humble as always, he went on to give credit to the scoring prowess of his teammate of 20 years for the Red Army. “Realistically, if he could have played a little bit more I wouldn’t have been able to reach his stats. He was a powerful player and scoring machine.”

Hmm, I wonder what current Capital also fits this description? Hint: His name is the same as the previous record holder for goals scored, and is Russian born. 

In fact, it was a great night to be named Alex, as the season leader in even-strength goals (seven) finished the scoring at the 2:17 mark of the overtime period.

This final wrist shot came through top shelf, and brought to a close the less than stellar defensive showing from both teams. Semin totaled another three points, and is tied with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the points lead in the NHL.    

So next Tuesday’s matchup with the Nashville Predators might not equal the historical highlights reached in this merry-go-round life of hockey heaven. Heroes never get to rest—until sometime in June, when the Stanley Cup is lifted.

Overall, it was a fine road victory for the Caps, who look to continue to splash the pot in the Eastern Conference. Game on!


Federov’s two-goal game was his first since Dec. 26, 2006. It also came on the 10th anniversary of his five-goal game against the Capitals. Jim Carey was the starting goalie for Washington in that one.

Soundbites from the coach:

About Federov’s leadership skills:

“He was a calming influence and we need that especially when a team is not used to losing two games in a row...We start to panic...That’s what leadership brings to the table.”

About Fleischmann’s fast start:

“Flash when he shoots it opens up his shiftiness.  He missed two empty nets.  Maybe the thought of three (scored goals two and four, respectively) was too much for him.”

Get him, Gabby. The youngster isn’t a star yet. 

Tyler Sloan scored his first NHL goal in the third period, taking a laser pass from Viktor Kozlov—back after missing three games due to a knee injury—to finish off a fevered rush of Capitals to the net. 

Mike Modano spoiled what would have been the game winner and notched his 532th career goal in the final minute of regulation. Isn’t Modano eligible for social security in a couple of years?