- The Washington Times - Friday, January 27, 2006

The Washington Capitals played much better last night in Boston than they did the previous night in Pittsburgh. But these Caps must play virtually perfect hockey to win, and it wasn’t perfect.

Washington rallied twice but committed just enough errors to keep Boston in the game and allow the Bruins to take a 3-2 victory, their third straight against the Caps this season — all one-goal games — and fifth straight in TD Banknorth Garden.

Alex Ovechkin, who was injured in a spearing incident Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, showed no evidence of the injury last night, skating his usual shift plus seeing spot duty on two other lines. He had an assist but did not score.

Ovechkin failed in two scoring opportunities. Early in the second he was awarded a penalty shot when he was tripped by defenseman Nick Boynton but shot wide right. In the third period, he had a clear breakaway with 3:30 left but shot wide left.

“It’s my fault we lost the game,” Ovechkin said. “I must take advantage of those chances, but it was not my day.”

The Caps got goals from Chris Clark and Ben Clymer, the latter returning from a bout with the flu. It was his fourth goal in his last five games.

Clark scored his career-high 11th goal. He scored 10 goals three times with Calgary. This season, he has 22 points, three short of his career high.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh defenseman Ryan Whitney is reported to have received nothing more than a light slap on the wrist by the NHL for his hit on Ovechkin on Wednesday night. While there has been no announcement from the NHL, reports indicate Whitney was fined $1,500 by the league for spearing.

Privately the Caps were looking for at least a two-game suspension after Whitney speared Ovechkin in the groin as time expired in the second period in an 8-1 Penguins rout. The rookie wing screamed as he collapsed to the ice, where he remained for several minutes before he was assisted to the locker room.

Whitney’s reputation is that of a mild-mannered defenseman, one of the reasons he reportedly doesn’t get more ice time for a team that is defensively challenged. But he attacked one of the league’s prime attractions without provocation, something that usually draws instant retribution in the form of a suspension.

Whitney had a telephone hearing with NHL vice president Colin Campbell yesterday, and according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the executive did not think the infraction warranted a suspension.

“[Campbell] was pretty sure by watching it that it wasn’t your normal kind of spear, where there’s a lot of intent,” Whitney said.

Notes — Defensemen Jamie Heward and Steve Eminger were medical scratches with lower body injuries. Neither has played since the West Coast trip earlier this month. Clymer missed only the Pittsburgh game with the flu and was back in action last night. Defenseman Shaone Morrisonn, a former first-round draft pick of Boston, took a shot on the right leg nine minutes into the first and needed help to get off the ice. He was taken to the locker room for treatment but was back almost immediately.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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