Maybe the Caps will go to Philadelphia and lose to the red-hot Flyers in two days, but this 2-1 overtime victory sure felt like a turning point in this season. Here are a few notes and quotes from the aftermath of the one of the most entertaining 2-1 games you’re ever going to see:
* Sergei Fedorov pots the winner in overtime. His response: “I’m no newborn here in that time of the game.” No kidding. Fedorov now has 15 career OT goals, which ties him with Jaromir Jagr, Mats Sundin and Patrick Elias for the most in NHL history.
* Donald Brashear was moving around with a noticeable limp after the game. Bruce Boudreau said his knee buckled on him when Wade Belak connected with that left hook. Boudreau said his head is fine, but doesn’t know how long Brashear could be out. I asked about Graham Mink, and Boudreau wasn’t sure about him being a potential call-up. He said Mink is a big guy, but he’s not really a fighter.
* Boudreau said he hadn’t looked at the tape yet, but others had told him it was a head butt that caused Matt Bradley’s face to start pouring out blood. Don’t know if the CSN broadcast showed the angle of him going to the bench, but the local feed here did, and it was a stomach-turning sight.
* Fedorov, Nicklas Backstrom and Boudreau all heaped praise on Brashear and Bradley, and pointed to the team’s commitment to playing for those two guys.
“I thought it was a great character, courageous game,” Boudreau said. “We battled for our teammates. We knew they went to war for us, so our guys took it upon themselves to go back to war for them. I thought we played as good of a game as we have in a long time and we should have won in regulation, but we didn’t and we still got the two points.
* The Caps didn’t win in regulation because Dan Ellis was ridiculous. He made a few highlight-reel saves in the third period, stopped 42 of 44 overall and rightfully so was named the game’s No. 1 star. Memo to Pekka Rinne: Take some Theraflu tonight and you better feel a lot better in the morning.
“Boy, he made some good saves,” Boudreau said. “When a guy is that unconscious, you’re jsut sitting there going, ‘Oh my God, what can possibly happen next?’ But if you keep shooting, something good is probably going to happen.
* Alexander Semin was awesome in the first period with five shots and three takeaways. If he didn’t dominate every one of his seven shifts, he did in at least six of them. He looked a little frustrated in the second, but came back strong again in the third. He is playing better right now than he was earlier this season when he led the NHL in scoring.
* Nicklas Backstrom had a goal, and thought he had a second but Ellis had a save of the year candidate when he reached back and knocked it out of the air with his paddle. Sergei Fedorov said he hopes Ellis makes the Top 10 on SportsCenter, because he deserves it.
“I was like, ‘Thanks, a goal,’ ” Backstrom said. “I don’t know – maybe I was too sure to score, but I got it up and he made a great save. He was great today.”
* The Caps were terrible in the first minute and couldn’t put a shot in the ocean in the middle period. Boudreau called it the worst first shift of a game that he’s been associated with since he got here. He sent out the Caps top line, and they played “defense” for 50 seconds before finally giving up a goal on the fourth shot.
Then in the second period, the Caps went 10-for-31 from the floor (that’s 21 missed or blocked shots). The Alexes combined to be 0-for-8 in the period. Boudreau’s advice between periods: Keep shooting. And it worked, because Ellis faced a firing squad in the third period.
* Fedorov was also 16-for-23 in the faceoff circle.
* On a night when he put only 5 of 17 shots on net and had two giveaways to no takeaways, Alex Ovechkin might have been the fourth-best Russian on the team. He did make a very nice pass to Backstrom for his goal, and Ellis robbed him on a one-timer late.