Theodore, Wilson help Caps bury Avalanche

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“I don’t want to do it again — it was so hard,” said Alzner, who logged 9:21 of ice time in the third. “Of all the places to be [shorthanded], this is probably the worst to do that. We all banded together and did what we had to do. It was interesting. I can’t wait to see what the stat sheet says. I guess that is what it feels like to be Mike Green and play that much every night.”

Theodore returned to the arena he called home for two-plus seasons and made 27 saves in the victory. His biggest save came in the first half of the opening period when he robbed Chris Stewart from point-blank range.

“I didn’t really know what to expect coming back,” Theodore said. “I have so many great memories and my family really liked it here. When we landed yesterday, it was a little bit of sadness and a funny feeling. It was good to come back and have a good win.”

Tomas Fleischmann put the Caps on the board first just 1:56 into the contest. Eric Fehrs shot from the right post clanged off the near post, and Fleischmann shoveled the rebound past Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson, who was pulled after 40 minutes.

Wilson made a backhanded pass out of a scrum along the boards to Fehr to start the play and earned a point on his first NHL shift. He also had a chance in close to score a goal on each of his next two shifts.

A ninth-round pick by Minnesota in 2004 who didn’t sign with the Wild, Wilson began his tenure with this organization in the ECHL with South Carolina before earning a promotion to Hershey. He scored two goals in his first game with the Bears, and proceeded to net 82 in the previous three seasons for them.

“You got to get a little bit lucky sometimes and the puck bounced the right way,” Wilson said. “Hopefully I can keep getting bounces like that.”

Mike Knuble gave Washington a 2-0 advantage at 17:03 of the first. Nicklas Backstrom sprung Alex Ovechkin and Knuble on a 2-on-1, and the veteran forward put a backhanded shot along the ice to beat Anderson. It was Knubles first goal since returning from a broken right pinky finger.

Steckel made it a 3-0 game 4:02 into the second by putting in a rebound from Matt Bradleys shot for his second goal of the year.

Fleischmann added his second on another nifty play by Wilson. He intercepted an outlet pass by John-Michael Liles and sent a perfect pass to Fleischmann in front of the net, and he redirected it for a tap-in tally.

“I guess if you got two points every night it would be tough to send you home,” Wilson said. “I’ve just got to keep working.”

That’s 13 this season in 23 games for Fleischmann, which ties him with Alexander Semin for second on the team behind Ovechkin. It is also six goals in seven games for the Czech left wing.

Bradley stretched the lead to 5-0 by banking a shot off Anderson from below the goal line. It was Bradley’s sixth of the year — one more than he had last season.

Not only was this an emphatic road victory against a top opponent, it also helped the Caps move past a disastrous outing Saturday night in Toronto when they blew a two-goal lead in a 6-3 defeat.

“We talked about it in between periods about how [the Toronto loss] might be a cheap lesson and we can’t let it happen again,” Boudreau said.

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