Kozlov helps Capitals extend winning streak

WASHINGTON (Ticker) — The Washington Capitals continued their
winning ways thanks to a scorer not named Alex.

Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin have starred all season long
but Viktor Kozlov shined the brightest in this one, scoring two
goals and notching an assist as the Capitals extended their
winning streak to five games with a 4-2 victory over the St.
Louis Blues on Thursday.

Tomas Fleischmann scored, Ovechkin netted his team-leading 20th
goal of the season and rookie Simeon Varlamov turned aside 29
shots to notch his second career NHL win in as many games for
Washington, which improved to 14-1-1 at home.

Since losing back-to-back games from November 29-December 2, the
Capitals are 7-1-0 while outscoring their opponents, 27-15.

“It’s still before Christmas,” Washington coach Bruce Boudreau
said. “I think we can play a lot better and shut them down a
little bit better.”

David Backes scored his ninth goal of the season and David
Winchester added a power-play tally, but the Blues fell for the
fifth straight contest.

Kozlov snapped a 1-1 tie with 2:54 left in the second,
converting passes from Boyd Gordon and Tom Poti while sitting on
the doorstep. Fleischmann gave Washington a two-goal advantage
just 40 seconds later with a wrist shot from the slot.

“We scored two goals right away. That put them back,” Kozlov
said. “If not, who knows?

Boudreau is pleased that he’s received scoring from a player
other than Ovechkin and Semin.

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“He’s the unsung Russian,” Boudreau said of Kozlov, who has
seven goals this season. “He just goes out and does his

Kozlov usually lets Ovechkin do the talking. This time, he was
the star.

“They didn’t score. We scored. That was the turning point of
the game,” Kozlov said.

St. Louis coach Andy Murray wasn’t pleased with the results.

“We know they’re a good and dangerous team,” Murray said. “I
didn’t like some of the things they did to allow them to get
scoring chances.”

Ovechkin increased the Capitals’ lead to 4-1 by firing a slap
shot from above the right faceoff circle with the man advantage
just 13 seconds into the third.

Winchester recorded his third goal of the season by lifting a
wrister over Varlamov’s shoulder in front of the net midway
through the session.

The 20-year-old Varlamov had a thrill when he won the game in
front of his father.

“It’s great that his dream was realized because it was his dream
to see me play in the NHL. It was my dream as well,” Varlamov
said through an interpreter. “He’s probably right now the
happiest man in the world, and so am I.”

Kozlov opened the scoring with 3:14 left in the first period,
and Backes evened the score midway through the second.

Ben Bishop made 25 saves for the Blues, who also dropped their
fifth consecutive game on the road.