Originally written on Rock the Red  |  Last updated 11/14/14
2009_nhl_awards_7f4a

WASHINGTON: For the Washington Capitals, it has been a season of ups and downs.  But over the last two weeks, the Capitals have started to round into form under new coach Dale Hunter, and have now won four games in a row.  Alex Ovechkin recorded his fourth consecutive multi-point game, Nicklas Backstrom had three assists, and Tomas Vokoun made 18 saves as the Caps defeated the Calgary Flames 3-1 inside Verizon Center.

"Everybody's buying in to everything, and working very hard," said forward Marcus Johansson, who had two assists.  "That's the most important thing, is that no one is taking it easy, everybody's working, working their hardest every night, and that's going to play a big role in this."

The Capitals got off to a blazing start, with Alex Ovechkin converting on a power play just 71 seconds in to the game with a slapshot from the top of the circles, the third consecutive game Ovechkin has scored a goal.  "I just feel very good, you know, about my game," he said.  "My shot, and how I control the puck, you can see how my partners find me and it's very important to find open space up there."

Washington continued to carry play through the first twenty minutes, though they could not get another goal past Miikka Kiprusoff.  The second period, however, was an entirely different story, at least from the start, as Calgary owned most of the chances and established a good cycle on the Washington defensive corps.

But after a penalty call on Chris Butler gave the Caps another chance, they pounced on it.  Troy Brouwer, in front of the net, slammed home a rebound from an Alex Ovechkin point drive to double the lead.  "It's kind of scary, playing there with Ovi taking those shots," the winger said.  "But Dale told me if I want to play on the power play, that's where I'm going to be.  I have a big body, I have to use it."

Calgary would not lie down, however.  After Jason Chimera was hauled down in the neutral zone without a call, Jarome Iginla fed Curtis Glencross in front to cut the lead in half with 6:09 left in the period.  Washington bent, feeling the heat of the attack, but did not break, and true to form, got the goal right back.

Nicklas Backstrom carried the puck around the goal and fed a cutting Dennis Wideman in front, who pounded home the third goal with a slapshot in front with 2:59 left in the frame, restoring the two goal advantage and easing pressure on the home side.  "Nicky's a great playmaker," said Hunter.  "He sees the ice, and you know, you can't teach that.  It's just God given ability, even when he can't see him, he just sort of senses people around him."  Marcus Johansson added to that sentiment.  "He's pretty good.  He's got such a good eye for the game.  You always find the puck on your stick with him...he's pretty good."

The Flames pushed hard in the final period, including two late power plays, but could not get anything past Vokoun, who made several outstanding saves on odd-man rushes and on the penalty kill to help preserve the win.  "Our goalie played unbelievable," said Ovechkin.  "He made some great saves and gave us a little breathing room."

And though the Caps have now won four in a row, there is still work to be done.  "As a coach, you're never satisfied," said Hunter.  "One game at a time here.  We won a few, but Tomas still had to make big saves.  We have to tighten up even more."

If they do, it could certainly be a very fun spring.

NOTES: Forward Nicklas Backstrom, who was named the game's first star, did not play in the final 3:19 after taking an elbow to the head from Flames winger Rene Bourque.  Bourque was given two minutes for elbowing on the play.  "We removed him from the game as a precaution," said Hunter.  "He's getting evaluated tonight.  We'll know more tomorrow."  Backstrom took one more shift after the initial hit...With his goal and assist Tuesday, captain Alex Ovechkin now has four consecutive multi-point games, the first time he has done that since Feb 4-10, 2010...Mike Green, in his first game since November 11th, skated 15:43 and recorded three shots on goal.  Said the defenseman, when asked if he is where he wanted to be: "Not even close.  (I need to) get the rust out of my game.  I'll be back to normal soon, but it will take some time."

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Blatt has special message for LeBron

Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant

Bryce Harper: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball

Report: Wilson skipped OTAs to attend funeral with Graham

Antonio Brown on contract: 'I've got enough' money

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kaepernick posts insensitive joke about Houston floods

50 Cent’s boxing company files for bankruptcy

Rangers-Lightning Game 6: Prediction for elimination game

Phillies GM says team's fans 'don't understand the game’

Adrian Peterson reportedly has considered retirement

Report: Bulls could cheat Tom Thibodeau out of coaching jobs

FIFA officials arrested, to be extradited to US for corruption

WATCH: LeBron throws down huge dunk from inside FT line

Nick Saban says he caught 6-foot, 180-pound fish

WATCH: Vin Scully tells story about Gomes being attacked by wolf

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches home run off scoreboard

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Robinson Cano's slump: The good news, the bad news

Joe Maddon unhappy over Cubs’ ‘awkward schedule’

Buck Showalter takes shot at Marlins over management

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Cavs' Kevin Love cleared to travel with team

Four crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs thus far

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.