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game recap

Backstrom injured in Caps' fourth straight win

Tuesday, 01.03.2012 / 9:42 PM

NHL.com

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Backstrom injured in Caps' fourth straight win
Calgary Flames 1, Washington Capitals 3
Three Stars of the Game
Nicklas Backstrom
1st
G: 0Shots: 1
A: 3Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 20:31
Marcus Johansson
2nd
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 2Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:07
Alex Ovechkin
3rd
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 0TOI: 21:02
The Washington Capitals' offense looked sharp Tuesday night, but it may have lost a key component in the process.

In the third period of Washington's 3-1 win against the Calgary Flames at the Verizon Center, Rene Bourque lifted his right elbow into the head of stud center Nicklas Backstrom, who had earned assists on all three Capitals goals.

"The puck isn't even close," Capitals center Marcus Johansson said. "And it's very, very unnecessary."

Bourque went to the penalty box for elbowing, while Backstrom stayed in the game for two more shifts. He was unable to finish the game.

"It was precautionary, and he's getting evaluated," Washington coach Dale Hunter said of Backstrom, the team's points leader with 42 points. "We'll know more (Wednesday)."

Washington has now won fourth straight, while Calgary has dropped four in a row. Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored power-play goals, Dennis Wideman added a goal, and Tomas Vokoun made 18 saves for the Capitals, who improved to 9-6-1 under coach Dale Hunter.

Washington also blocked a season-high 24 shots, won 63 percent of its faceoffs and didn't allow a power-play goal for the ninth straight home game. Vokoun has stopped 125 of the last 131 shots he has faced, and the team is allowing only 2.25 goals per game since Hunter replaced Bruce Boudreau in late November.

"This is too good (of a) group to be in the middle, middle of nowhere," said Ovechkin, who has seven goals in seven games. "We just want to be in the playoffs."

Bourque's reviews weren't as good. Calgary coach Brent Sutter said a team can't "take a penalty 200 feet from the net" on the first shift of the game against a team like the Capitals. Ovechkin's one-timer soon made the score 1-0, his 17th goal of the season.

"I just felt like I was stuck in the boards, and even though it looked like I was holding him, I couldn't really move because my arm was on the other side of him," Bourque said. "But, yeah, it's a back-breaker. They scored right away in the first minute, and ... I take a stupid penalty."

Bourque was more nebulous about his hit on Backstrom. Bourque was suspended two games last month for a hit on Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks.
 
"Did it look really bad? Was he hurt? I didn't even know if I clipped him," Bourque said. "I didn't even know if I hit him in the head."

Curtis Glencross had the lone goal for the Flames, who have one game left on a seven-game trip. Miikka Kiprusoff made 18 saves, and Jarome Iginla remained one goal shy of becoming the 42nd NHL player to score 500.

The Capitals got another boost with the return of defenseman Mike Green, who had missed 23 straight games and 29 of 30 with a sprained right ankle and then a groin injury. Yet while Green was back, forward Alexander Semin was out - listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.
scoring summary
1st Period
01:11
WSH
PPG - Alex Ovechkin (17) Slapshot - ASST: Marcus Johansson (14), Nicklas Backstrom (27)
1 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
08:49
WSH
PPG - Troy Brouwer (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Alex Ovechkin (16), Nicklas Backstrom (28)
2 - 0 WSH
13:51
CGY
Curtis Glencross (16) Wrist shot - ASST: Jarome Iginla (17), TJ Brodie (7)
2 - 1 WSH
17:01
WSH
Dennis Wideman (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (29), Marcus Johansson (15)
3 - 1 WSH
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
00:36
CGY
Rene Bourque  Holding against  Dennis Wideman
2nd Period
02:36
WSH
Mike Green  Holding against  Tom Kostopoulos
08:29
CGY
Chris Butler  Holding against  Joel Ward
3rd Period
10:06
CGY
Rene Bourque  Elbowing against  Nicklas Backstrom
12:20
WSH
Mike Knuble  Slashing against  Rene Bourque
15:39
WSH
Mike Green  Interference against  Tom Kostopoulos
19:10
WSH
Mike Knuble  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
goalie stats
Miikka Kiprusoff
SA: 21TOI: 58:54
Saves: 18EV: 16 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 4
SV%: .857SH: 0 - 0
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 19TOI: 60:00
Saves: 18EV: 14 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .947SH: 1 - 1