The Washington Times - October 30, 2011, 02:38AM

VANCOUVER | The Capitals knew it was coming. The score was tied after two periods of uneven hockey, and the Vancouver Canucks entered Saturday night’s game a mad group determined to turn things around.

They did just that, capitalizing on a Washington penalty and a host of miscues to turn a close game into a 7-4 laugher.

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“They were going to make a good push there; we didn’t respond,” right wing Mike Knuble said. “I think that’s what’s the most frustrating is the last 20 minutes, more than anything.”

An offensive zone interference call by Alex Ovechkin started it all. And while Bruce Boudreau discounted the validity of it and the Caps technically killed it off, Henrik Sedin buried a shot to give the Canucks the lead.

“They get the first one, sort of generates more energy in the building,” Boudreau said. “Then all of a sudden we sort of sag for about five minutes there and the game’s over.”

Sagging included allowing goals to Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre – each guy’s second of the night – on plays that were defensive blunders. Higgins’ goal was a result of a misplay by the third pairing of Jeff Schultz and Sean Collins, while Lapierre’s featured a failure to get back in time after a Caps power play had expired.

“We just had some defensive breakdowns and some bad turnovers and gave them some two-on-ones and whatnot,” defenseman Dennis Wideman said.

As Boudreau said, it was over as a potent Vancouver team took over.

“We turned it into a 20-minute game and they took the game from us,” Knuble said.