- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Ovechkin scores, ejected in Caps win
Question of the Day
Alex Ovechkin wasn't there to help end his team's string of poor third-period performances Wednesday night, but his countryman had his back.
Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves, and the Washington Capitals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres despite playing most of the final period without Ovechkin after his ejection.
"It is always difficult to play without Alex because he is our leader," Varlamov said through an interpreter. "But we have a lot of other great players, and it was a good team win."
Ovechkin had the lone goal of the first 40 minutes, though that was overshadowed by what transpired early in the third. He was assessed a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta 3:38 into the third period.
In accordance with the league rulebook, Ovechkin was hit with the major penalty at the official's discretion, and an injury to the head or face on a major infraction is grounds for an automatic ejection. Kaleta left the ice holding his nose, and Ovechkin tossed his stick in frustration as he headed for the dressing room.
"I just go to take a hit, and he turned and he just fell to the boards," Ovechkin said. "If [a fine or suspension] happens, then this happens. I don't think there is going to be something. He just fell into the boards. It was not my fault. I don't think it was five- or 10-[minute penalty] - I think max it was going to be two minutes."
Added coach Bruce Boudreau: "We just watched it a half-dozen times, and he hits him in the shoulder, not the side. It might have warranted a two-minute penalty, but I don't think it warranted anything more than that."
This is the second game misconduct in Ovechkin's career, and both have come against the Sabres. He was ejected from a game Dec. 2, 2006, during his second NHL season for boarding then-Buffalo forward Danny Briere.
Ovechkin was ejected from a qualifying-round game in the 2007 world championships and suspended for the next game of the tournament for a checking-from-behind infraction. He also was fined earlier this season after slew-footing Atlanta's Rich Peverley with 30 seconds left Oct. 22 at Philips Arena.
"I think it was just a moment in the game," Ovechkin said. "Sometimes you have a bad hit, and nothing happens. Sometimes you have a good hit, but the guy just falls into the boards and have blood. ... I can do nothing about it. I'm just going to play my game. I'm not going to change. It is me."
Varlamov has been spectacular of late, and he was in top form again on this night. He registered his first shutout of the season and raised his record to 9-1-2 and his save percentage to .922. He's staking his claim not only to the team's No. 1 spot on the depth chart but also a spot among the top contenders for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL's top rookie.
"Nothing has really changed," Varlamov said. "I'm working on my mistakes, trying to minimize my mistakes and get rid of them. I've also gotten over being nervous like I was at the beginning of the season."
Added Boudreau: "It was like he said, 'I am not letting this happen to me again in the third period.' "
Washington has had trouble holding leads and not taking penalties in the third period, so it appeared the Caps were in trouble when Buffalo was awarded a five-minute power play while being down 1-0 early in the third. Not only did the Caps erase the man advantage (and another two minutes after a delay-of-game penalty on Mike Green), but they also kept control of the contest and finished off the Sabres.
"We played great defensive hockey," defenseman Brian Pothier said. "When you are in good defensive position, the puck comes to you. ... We were all over them, and we were in their zone most of the time with the exception of that power play."
Before getting the boot, Ovechkin netted what proved to be the game-winning goal. He collected the puck between the circles in his own end after a Jason Pominville shot deflected off Jeff Schultz's skate.
The two-time league MVP carried the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive end before crossing from the left side of the ice to the right and ripping a shot from the top of the circle that fooled Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller at 6:24 of the opening period.
Eric Fehr gave the Caps a 2-0 lead with 6:22 remaining in the final period. He slammed home a centering pass from behind the net by Brendan Morrison for his fourth of the season.
About the Author
- The Capitals' Cup full of dreams
- Capitals' Green left off Canada's roster
- Capitals' new addition brings energy
- Capitals trade their captain to Columbus
- Disastrous first period dooms Capitals
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
In a world that is increasingly complex, we need to seek greater awareness of the blending of cultures and America's changing role in a global community.
Find up-to-date information on the D.C. and Baltimore live music scenes and read interviews with artists and reviews of the latest releases and concerts.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow