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Caps’ big rally overhauls Senators
Toward the end of the first period last night, with Ottawa enjoying what should have been an insurmountable lead over Washington, the Senators started making fun of the Capitals, chuckling and making snide remarks.
“It looked like their [attitude] wasn’t very good,” Caps star Alex Ovechkin said. “That got us angry.”
Apparently, that’s all it took. The Caps overcame a three-goal first-period deficit, punched in the tying goal with seconds left in regulation and won 4-3 in overtime on Chris Clark’s fifth goal of the season.
It was the Caps’ second straight victory and first winning streak of the season and ended an eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) the Senators had enjoyed in Washington. On Saturday, the Caps ended Philadelphia’s 16-game unbeaten streak over them (0-15-1) at Wachovia Center.
Matt Pettinger and Clark sandwiched goals around a pair of strikes from Ovechkin, his ninth and 10th of the season, to back up stellar goaltending by Brent Johnson, who relieved Olie Kolzig 12 minutes into the first period and inherited a three-goal deficit.
Coaches said the Caps’ play wasn’t that bad, but it was loose enough to result in three rather weak scores by the Senators, who waltzed around freely and had little opposition finding their way to Kolzig’s doorstep.
The turnaround started when Johnson made his first stop. It was evident from the Caps’ reaction that they were regaining confidence. All they had to do was make up three goals.
“This was a huge win for the team,” Johnson said. “You don’t have any idea how happy I am right now. To beat those guys being down 3-0 in the first, I’m just so elated you have no idea.
“I felt better out there, loose for some reason. Once the puck hit me on the first shot, I just felt quick after that. Once we got a goal, guys could start feeling it, coming in between periods and saying to each other, ‘Hey, boys, this ain’t over.’ ”
Jamie Heward hammered a drive from the blue line on a power play in the final minute of the first period that nicked Pettinger en route to the net for the first goal. Ovechkin redirected Alexander Semin’s drive in the second to make it 3-2. With the Caps up 6-on-4 with 25 seconds left in the game, Ovechkin simply flicked the puck toward the net, a shot that glanced off goalie Martin Gerber’s pads and in for the tying goal, sending the crowd of 10,845 into bedlam.
Overtime resembled pond hockey for the most part until the Caps set up around the Ottawa net, and Semin, who had three assists, took a shot. Clark redirected it, and Washington was a winner.
“Those are the fun ones to be in on,” coach Glen Hanlon said. “To be able to win in overtime, it does a lot for your club. Those are big wins.”
Notes — The Caps’ annual coat drive collection will be Nov. 17 before the Carolina game. Collection bids for warm, clean winter coats will be at all entrances to Verizon Center. …
TV footage showed Richard Zednik being checked hard into the boards late in the second period of the Atlanta game, then skating toward the bench with his left arm dangling limply. He is listed as day-to-day. …
Healthy scratches last night were forwards Kris Beech and Brooks Laich.
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
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