Ovechkin, Capitals too much for Ducks

By Craig Shultz
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) — Alex Ovechkin feels like a kid
at Disneyland when he visits Anaheim.

Ovechkin extended his goal-scoring streak to five games and
added three assists as the Washington Capitals skated to a 6-4
victory Wednesday over the Anaheim Ducks.

David Steckel and defenseman Mike Green each recorded a goal and
an assist for the Capitals, who improved to 1-0-1 on the first
of their two five-game road trips this season. Green left the
game with 6 1/2 minutes remaining in the first period with an
undisclosed injury and did not return.

Tomas Fleischmann, Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Bradley also
scored and Michael Nylander set up a pair of tallies for
Washington, which went 3-for-8 on the power play in raising its
record to 6-0-2 over its last eight contests.

“We’ve been practicing it and practicing it,” Capitals coach
Bruce Boudreau said of the power play. “Just because we haven’t
scored multiple goals, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t had
chances. I think we’ve scored (a man-advantage goal) in four or
five games in a row. We are steadily moving the percentage up.
Those things are difference-makers, and we thought today with
special teams were going to make the difference in the game.”

Bobby Ryan notched two goals and an assist, Ryan Getzlaf netted
a tally and set up another and Corey Perry recorded three
assists for the Ducks. Teemu Selanne also scored for Anaheim,
which concluded its six-game homestand at 2-3-1.

“They’re a skilled team, but we knew that,” Perry said. “We
knew we couldn’t come in and take penalties. Their power play
is too good. They shoot the puck and get to the net. If we
play 5-on-5, you never know what can happen.”

In his first visit to Anaheim on January 13, 2006, Ovechkin
recorded his first career hat trick in leading Washington to a
3-2 overtime victory. The 23-year-old reigning Hart Trophy
winner finally made it back to the southern California city and
made the most of it, notching his first four-point performance
of the season by assisting on all three of the Capitals’
first-period goals before netting one of his own early in the

“When we go on this kind of trip, we have fun,” Ovechkin said.
“It is a good atmosphere outside, and we played against a great
team who won the Stanley Cup two years ago. It’s a big

“He’s had a good game in our barn each time he’s been here,”
Selanne said.

Washington took advantage of two early penalties against Anaheim
to take a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. With
defenseman Bret Hedican in the box for hooking, Fleischmann
redirected Green’s slap shot past goaltender Jonas Hiller at
2:19 of the first period to extend his goal-scoring run to three

“I don’t think about it,” Fleischmann said. “I just tried to do
things that help the team. On the power play I scored, I was
just staying there. I was skating away from the shot and the
puck hit my stick and went in. That’s just luck.”

“Penalties early are killing us,” Anaheim defenseman Chris
Pronger said. “The other team is getting off to quick starts,
and we’re not doing a good-enough job of killing those penalties
off. At that point, we’re still fresh and we’re not picking one
another up. … We have to look at one another in here and
realize we can play a lot better than that.”

Green doubled the advantage at 3:54 while Getzlaf served an
interference penalty. After Nylander received a feed from
Ovechkin in the right faceoff circle, he passed the puck to
Green, whose one-timer from the blue line deflected off the
glove of Todd Marchant and between the arm and body of Hiller
for his seventh tally.

“We knew that they would get frustrated if we got in their face,
and they would take a lot of penalties,” Green said. “So it was
just a matter of capitalizing on the first couple of (power
plays). Our power play hasn’t been as good as it can be, so
tonight was a good test for us.”

“We just tried to play simple, and that’s the key,” Ovechkin
said of the power play. “We have a lot of skill, and sometimes
we just try to play too fancy. Tonight, we just played simple,
shot the puck, controlled the puck and got some traffic to the

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Ducks coach Randy Carlyle was upset with his team’s penchant for
taking penalties. Anaheim is second in the NHL with an average
of 19.8 penalty minutes per game.

“We’ve only talked about it about 250 million times,” Carlyle
said. “Obviously, it has to resort to some drastic measures,
and I think we’re in a situation where we’re going to continue
to make changes and consider lineup changes if that’s going to
continue. We have to get back to playing our style of hockey.
… You don’t give yourself a chance to get back in the game if
you’re going to take four or five minors in a period.”

Backstrom made it 3-0 at 7:13, beating Hiller from alone on the
doorstep after Viktor Kozlov made a dazzling move below the left
circle to get around defenseman Steve Montador. The goal chased
Hiller, who stopped just three of the six shots he faced.

“I was just going to the right position and (Kozlov gave me) a
good pass,” Backstrom said. “I just put it in. It was like an
open net. I was just surprising myself to go to the net.”

“The last couple of games, we’ve been having some slow starts,
so it was fun to have an early lead,” Capitals goaltender Jose
Theodore said. “In this league, 3-0 is a big lead, but there
was plenty of time and they’re a good team, and they came back
(to make it 3-2).”

Anaheim got back into the game before intermission, however.

Ryan scored his first goal of the season 24 seconds later,
gathering the puck at the left side of the crease after Perry’s
shot from the faceoff circle hit him in the skate and chipping
it past Theodore, who made 28 saves. With 3:04 remaining,
Getzlaf beat Theodore to the glove side with a wrist shot from
the right hash marks to draw the Ducks within 3-2.

Ryan was playing his second game of the season after being
recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Saturday.
The second overall pick in the 2005 draft was in the minors
because Anaheim had no room for him on the roster due to the
salary cap.

“I think the confidence that I took from Iowa coming up has
really just translated,” Ryan said. “Playing with Getzlaf and
Perry gives me a little more. I know I’m free to do a couple
different things here and there, and I’m not going to get
punished every time I try something. It’s nice.

“Individually, it’s nice to put up points and it’s nice to get
your feet under you. (But) all that doesn’t mean a whole lot
when you’re losing a game you should have won.”

Ovechkin began Washington’s second three-goal outburst at 2:43
of the middle period. After receiving a pass from captain Chris
Clark, the Russian superstar hesitated a bit before snapping the
puck past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere during a power play
for his eighth goal of the season.

“A guy like Alex Ovechkin probably rubs off on everybody in the
league,” Ryan said. “You’re certainly excited to see him play
and compete against him. He brings out his best every game and
brings out the best in everybody around him.”

Matt Bradley made it 5-2 with 2:12 to go in the period, grabbing
a loose puck on the doorstep and firing it into a vacant net.

“It was obviously nice to contribute,” Bradley said. “I thought
we had a couple of shifts where we were just hemmed into our
zone. Obviously, we’ll have to take a loot at that. But it was
nice to contribute and get some goals against their top lines.”

Steckel capped the uprising midway through the third, burying a
rebound from alone on the left side of the net at 10:06 for a
four-goal cushion.

Ryan jammed the puck past Theodore just 27 seconds later, and
Selanne cut the deficit to 6-4 during a power play with exactly
eight minutes remaining, taking a cross-crease pass from Getzlaf
and scoring from alone on the right side.

“We always knew that he could score,” Carlyle said of Ryan.
“He’s a more mature player from a bunch of different aspects. I
think he understands how he has to play to be effective in the

Nine of Selanne’s 10 goals this season have come with the man

Giguere turned aside 24 shots in relief for Anaheim, which lost
in regulation for just the third time in its last 14 games