WASHINGTON – The score-at-will Washington Capitals put three in the net in a 2½-minute span in the third period Wednesday night, igniting a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks and matching the team’s longest winning streak in 26 years.
Shaone Morrisonn, Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin scored on consecutive shots early in the third period to break open a tie game, helping the Capitals win their eighth straight – tied for their best run since winning a franchise-record 10 in a row during the 1983-84 season.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 34th goal in the first period and had two assists in the third, while Semin added another goal – his 25th of the season – on a 5-on-3 power play in the third as the Capitals again made scoring look remarkably easy.
Since Ovechkin became captain on Jan. 5, Washington has won 11 of 12 games and scored at least four goals in all but one of them.
The Capitals blew past the 200-goal mark for the season – no other team had as many as 175 entering Wednesday’s games – and have scored in 21 of their last 23 periods. They had a run of 12 scoring periods in a row before the Ducks shut them out in the second period.
Michal Neuvirth, the goalie by default because of injuries to Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov, made 30 saves for the Capitals. Theodore sustained a lower-body injury during Tuesday night’s win over the New York Islanders, while Varlamov has been sidelined since early December by knee and groin injuries.
Dan Sexton scored for the Ducks, who have lost three of four on their season-high six-game trip.
Ovechkin and Mike Green were held without a point Tuesday night against the Islanders, but they made up for it quickly by putting together a goal just 36 seconds into the game against the Ducks. After Nicklas Backstrom created a turnover in the offensive zone, Green shovelled the puck toward the net from the blue-line. Knuble redirected it to Ovechkin, who was so wide open he had time to settle the puck on his stick before scoring the easy goal.
But it was the third-period spree that settled the game. Morrisonn’s goal, his first in nearly a year, took a slight deflection off Steve Eminger’s left skate and went through goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s pads. Ovechkin did most of the work on Knuble’s goal, making a stellar move down the right side before making the pass. Semin’s first goal was a breakaway, set up by a three-line pass from Brooks Laich.
NOTES: Ovechkin has scored the first goal of the game a league-high 11 times this year. … With Theodore and Varlamov hurt, the Capitals recalled Braden Holtby from Hershey of the AHL to back up Neuvirth. … To make room for Holtby, the Capitals assigned D Karl Alzner to Hershey. … Morrisonn last scored on Feb. 22, 2009. … The Ducks were playing in Washington for the first time since Dec. 8, 2006, when they won, 6-1.