Posted March 25, 2012 on
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Alex Ovechkin continued his recent resurgence with his ninth goal in seven games, and the Washington Capitals pulled back into the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.
Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perrault also scored, and Braden Holtby made 28 saves in his fourth start of the season as the Capitals broke a two-game skid to move back into a tie on points with the Buffalo Sabres, with Washington holding the tiebreaker.
The Capitals and Sabres, both with just six games remaining in the regular season, meet in Washington on Tuesday night.
Looking again like the player who twice won league MVP, Ovechkin was influential throughout the game, highlighted from his blast from the left circle in the third period for Washington's third goal. He led the Capitals in ice time and had a superb shift during a second-period power play, hustling back to his own end to break up a short-handed odd-man rush and then supplying the secondary assist on Perrault's goal that made it 2-0.
Ovechkin has 36 goals on the season, having recently pass his career-low from last season, but he's still on pace for a career-low in points. He has 61, well below last season's mark of 85.
Recent call-up Holtby, sharing time with Michal Neuvirth while Tomas Vokoun recovers from a groin injury, started for the third time in four games and shut down the NHL's lowest- scoring team for his third career shutout. His point-blank save on Devin Setoguchi in the first period helped set the tone for the Capitals, who needed to re-establish momentum after blowing a 3-0 lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.
Another goaltender not long promoted from the minors, Matt Hackett, made 20 saves for the Wild. Niklas Backstrom did not make the trip because of a lower-body injury, and Josh Harding played Saturday in a 3-1 loss at Buffalo.
The Wild were shut out for the eighth time this season. Their latest injury casualty is center Matt Cullen, sidelined after breaking his right index finger in Saturday's loss at Buffalo.
After a scoreless first period, Chimera gave the Capitals the lead by converting the feed from Alexander Semin on a two-on-one break. Perrault poked in a pass from Troy Brouwer for Washington's second goal.
Notes: Capitals RW Joel Ward missed his second consecutive game with a lower body injury. Washington C Nicklas Backstrom, sidelined since early January with a concussion, has resumed practicing with the team and could return this season. ... Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second game since sustaining a concussion in Thursday's win over Calgary, and LW Matt Kassian sat out his third straight with a groin injury.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
BEST OF MAXIM
For the last four year Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals have been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In fact, they’ve placed first the last two years, preceding with a second-place finish in 2009 and a third-place stop in 2008.
Alexander Ovechkin has registered seven goals and one assist in the last five games, but it may be too little, too late for the Washington...
Lindsey Czarniak of ESPN with a feature on Alex Ovechkin.
Red-hot Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist and the host Washington Capitals climbed into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.Braden Holtby turned aside 28 shots for his first shutout of the season and third of his career as the Capitals won for only the second time in six games (2-2-2).Jason Chimera and Mathieu Perreault...
Tonight’s Buffalo game is near-playoff action in March. Dale Hunter even said it’s “like the seventh game of the playoffs.” [Caps Insider, RMNB]
Alex Ovechkin has scored nine goals in the past seven. [Caps Insider]
Nick Backstrom is practicing, but not yet ready to play. [Caps Insider]
This Crosby-Ovechkin job may be the worst jersey foul ever. [RMNB]
Braden Holtby’s car...
I've blogged about ESPN's lack of NHL coverage in the past and also the issues of programming Sunday Night SportsCenter, typically the most jam packed SportsCenter that airs all week.
With all of this in mind, I found myself totally taken aback when Sunday night's SportsCenter jumped into nearly nine full minutes of NHL coverage. Leading off was a reshowing of a "...
By JEFF BARTL,
The Minnesota Wild's most recent defeat hurt the Washington Capitals' chances of earning one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots.
They can do further damage with a victory Sunday.
Slumping Washington looks to avoid another letdown when it hosts the Wild, who have lost four of their five all-time visits to the nation's capital...
They filled two very different roles Sunday night, but Alex Ovechkin’s and Braden Holtby’s roller coaster seasons both hit high points against the Minnesota Wild.
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Thirteen days remain in the regular season and there are some key games that could decide playoff spots and seeds. Here are the five contests that will impact these races…1. Buffalo at Washington, March 27The eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will likely come down to two teams: Buffalo and Washington. They will play each other this Tuesday night in D.C....
Here we are again.
The Washington Capitals returned to their winning ways on Sunday evening, knocking off the Minnesota Wild inside Verizon Center by a final score of 3-0. Jason Chimera, Mathieu Perreault, and Alex Ovechkin all scored for the Capitals, who are now back in eighth place in the Eastern Conference after falling out of the playoff picture Saturday while sitting idle...
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Continue reading "Stars Of The Week"
Impressive as the Buffalo Sabres' two-month charge out of the cellar and into the playoff hunt has been, defenseman Robyn Regehr knows their job is far from complete.
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''Well, we haven&...