Theodore, Capitals deny Canadiens in shootout

WASHINGTON (Ticker) — Jose Theodore recorded 30 saves and
stopped both attempts in the shootout as the Washington Capitals
rallied to a 4-3 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on

Alex Ovechkin netted his NHL-leading 42nd goal in highlight-reel
fashion and Nicklas Backstrom and Dave Steckel also tallied for
Washington, which improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine contests.

After Alexander Semin and Backstrom were both successful in the
bonus format, Theodore denied Tomas Plekanec and All-Star
defenseman Andrei Markov to seal the win.

Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn and Plekanec each scored a
power-play goal for Montreal, which went 3-for-4 with the man

Markov notched three assists and All-Star Carey Price finished
with 32 saves for the struggling Canadiens, who are 3-10-1 in
their last 14 games.

“I was extremely satisfied; I thought we played a really good
game,” Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. “Just at the end
there when we lost that faceoff, they tied the game. I thought
overall we played a great game against a team that was playing
extremely well lately.”

Although the Capitals won in a shootout, all anyone wanted to
talk about was Ovechkin’s goal – well, except the Russian

“Normal goal. It’s not ‘sick’,” Ovechkin said.

After Higgins opened the scoring 2:33 into the first period,
Ovechkin created a stir with his highlight-reel goal midway
through the first period.

After backhanding the puck to himself in the neutral zone, the
defending Hart Trophy winner skated up the left wing, fended off
defenseman Mathieu Schneider and – while falling – tucked the
puck past Price.

“I just covered the bottom half of the net like I’m supposed to
because he’s sitting on his butt,” Price said. “Somehow he
found a way to get the puck off the ice when he was sitting on
his (butt). I mean, he did it against Phoenix too.

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The original goal was an Ovechkin sliding, stick-behind-the-head
classic against the Phoenix Coyotes on January 16, 2006.

Ovechkin simply downplayed Wednesday’s goal – relegating it to
“top 10, probably.”

“You have to try something new,” Ovechkin said. “Sometimes I try
in practice, and (Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau) says, ‘What are
you doing?’ And I say ‘Sometimes I need to change my game,’ so
I’m changing and it’s working.”

Boudreau simply heaped praise in the direction of his talented

“I’ve seen that about a thousand times on TV, but I thought
(Wednesday’s goal) was as amazing a goal as I’ve ever seen,”
Boudreau said.

“(But) to backhand it off the boards to self in full stride, and
then beat it … I don’t know if you know how it is to go from
backwards to forwards and beating a guy that’s skating after
you, that’s a tremendous feat.”

With his team trailing, 3-2, Steckel’s wrist shot from the slot
beat Price to level the contest with 2:39 remaining.

Plekanec nearly won it in overtime, but his blast caromed off
the left goalpost and out in the final minute of overtime.

“We’ll take the point tonight; obviously we wanted to have two,”
Plekanec said. “We were pretty close to it, but the main thing
is we played a pretty good 60 minutes I think. We played
extremely disciplined defensively. … We didn’t get into
trouble too much in the game. I think we did a good job.”

Backstrom and Andrei Kostitsyn traded power-play tallies nearly
3 1/2 minutes apart in the first period, before Plekanec’s goal
8:57 into the third gave Montreal a brief 3-2 advantage.