- Associated Press - Sunday, March 13, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) - Mike Knuble scored with 1:09 left in overtime to give the Washington Capitals their eighth straight victory, a 4-3 decision over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

Marcus Johansson fed Knuble right in front of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. Knuble quickly moved the puck from left to right and flicked a shot past Crawford.

The winning streak is the longest for the Capitals since they set a franchise record with 14 straight victories from Jan. 13-Feb. 7, 2010.

In addition, the victory was Washington’s 40th of the season, setting a club record with a fourth straight 40-win season.

The win increased Washington’s Southeast Division lead over Tampa Bay to five points. The Capitals have 90 points and are trying for a fourth straight division title. They have 12 games left; the Lightning have 13.

Washington also moved one point behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Blackhawks have dropped three straight after winning eight in a row.

Defense and timely goals have been the key parts of Washington’s streak. The Capitals have given up 12 goals during the eight games.

Rookie goalie Braden Holtby has given the Capitals a boost. Holtby replaced an injured Michal Neuvirth after the first period in Tampa Bay on March 7, won that game plus the next three.

He’s given up only four goals in 11 periods since replacing Neuvirth and made 27 stops against the Blackhawks.

This was the only meeting between the two teams this season.

Chicago controlled play in the game’s early minutes. The Blackhawks got the game’s first five shots, kept the puck in the Washington zone for long stretches and took a 1-0 lead on Nick Leddy’s goal at 4:46 of the first period.

The Capitals tied it 1:25 later on Boyd Gordon’s short-handed goal. Washington got a break when the puck eluded Patrick Sharp near the left point, bounced off the boards and right to Gordon, who took off on a breakaway and beat Crawford with a long slap shot.

The Capitals took a 2-1 lead on Jason Arnott’s power play goal with 53.7 seconds left in the period.

Tomas Kopecky tied it early in the second period. Kopecky fired a shot at the goal from the left corner that somehow slid through Holtby’s legs, apparently bouncing off his back skate and in at 3:09.

Brooks Laich gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead when he scored at 6:23 of the third period. The Blackhawks forced OT when Jonathan Toews stuffed the puck into the right corer on a power play with 38.5 seconds left in the third period.

Chicago got the power play when Washington’s Marcus Johansson was called for hooking with 1:50 left in the third period. Coach Joel Quenneville quickly pulled Crawford to give the Blackhawks a two-man advantage and, despite having an empty net, the Blackhawks tied it.

The Capitals then dominated play in OT. Alex Ovechkin was all over the ice for a long stretch, and Washington outshot the Blackhawks, 6-0.

The Capitals finished with a 42-30 advantage in shots.

Notes: Gordon went 27 games without a goal; he’s now scored twice in five games. …The Capitals are the first team in NHL history to get seven or more victories from three goalies age 22 or younger. … Marian Hossa’s eight-game point streak ended in Chicago’s last game, but he started a new one with an assist. … Leddy’s goal was his first since Feb. 1.

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