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Wings top Caps in SO

Tuesday, 12.18.2007 / 12:04 AM / Game of the Night

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

After missing the past two games due to a sore knee, Tomas Holmstrom returned to the Red Wings lineup on Monday night and netted a pair of goals to help lead Detroit to a 4-3 shootout win over the Washington Capitals
In his first visit to Detroit, Alexander Ovechkin got a real close look at just how talented the Red Wings really are.
   
He also watched a nice little game of “Follow the Leader.”
   
Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler all beat Olaf Kolzig via the backhand, as the Red Wings skated away with an exciting 4-3 win over Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night.
   
It came only moments after Ovechkin had a chance to give the Caps an extra point in the standings, but the world-class forward was denied by world-class goalie Dominik Hasek, who denied Ovechkin on a glorious chance 3:27 into overtime ( 700K ).
   
“He’s a very talented player, along with Sidney Crosby and (Evgeni) Malkin,” Hasek said of Ovechkin. “The way he scores goals, he’s such an exciting player. I like to see him on the highlights. But when I play against him, I have to pay special attention to him. He’s a great shooter and almost half of their offense.”
   
Washington forced overtime thanks to Alexander Semin’s power play goal with just 1:34 remaining in the third period ( 700K ). The Capitals were awarded a man advantage after Datsyuk accidentally lifted the puck over the glass in the Red Wings’ zone.
   
''I really believe we deserved two (points),'' Capitals interim coach Bruce Boudreau said. ''But that's why they're No. 1 because every chance they get, they take advantage of it.''
   
Tomas Holmstrom gave the Wings a 1-0 lead when he scored his first of two goals just 3:57 into the game ( 700K ). Holmstrom – who had missed the past two games due to a sore knee – notched a power play tally when he redirected Nicklas Lidstrom’s feed past Kolzig for his 15th goal of the season.
   
''It's always nice to score,'' Holmstrom said. ''I felt a little rusty but I tried to make it simple out there.''
   
Ovechkin knotted things up with a power play goal of his own at the 9:58 mark of the opening period ( 700K ). Two seconds after Hudler was called for holding, Ovechkin benefited from a faceoff victory by Michael Nylander as he ripped a wrist shot past Hasek to make it 1-1. It was Ovechkin’s team-leading 24th goal of the season.
   
Washington took the lead when Jeff Schultz scored with only 26 seconds remaining in the first ( 700K ). With the teams at even strength, Schultz fired a shot from the point that deflected off a sliding Holmstrom and floated past Hasek as the Caps took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
   
''I didn't think we were as good as we could've been from the start,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
   
But Zetterberg got the Wings back on track when he potted his 24th goal of the season 10:26 into the second period ( 700K ). After Donald Brashear was whistled for roughing, Zetterberg took a pass from Datsyuk (three assists) and one-timed it past Kolzig to make it 2-2.
   
Holmstrom gave Detroit the lead on his second goal of the night with 4:43 left in regulation ( 700K ). It was another even-strength tally allowed by the Caps, who permitted Holmstrom to convert a fabulous feed from Datsyuk as the Wings took a 3-2 lead.
   
But the Caps capitalized when Datsyuk accidentally shot the puck over the glass in his own end. Semin tied the game when he one-timed Tom Poti’s feed past Hasek to make it 3-3. It was Semin’s third goal of the season.
   
“I thought they played well,” Babcock said of the Capitals. “They’ve got good players. I was impressed. It’s pretty evident they’ve been playing better the last little while. I thought they were tough.”
   
But Washington was overmatched in the shootout. Datsyuk got the party started when he went to his backhand to beat Kolzig. After Washington’s Viktor Kozlov hit the crossbar, Zetterberg followed Datsyuk and also put a backhand shot past Kolzig ( 700K ).
   
Semin gave the Caps life when he snapped a shot past Hasek, but Hudler sealed the victory for the Wings when he also beat Kolzig via the backhand.
   
“Pavel lead the way there,” Zetterberg said. “After that, we just kept doing it. Tonight, it worked. Maybe we’ll do it next time.”

Avalanche 4, Kings 2 | Video
   
Jaroslav Hlinka fires the puck past Los Angeles Kings' goaltender Jason LaBarbera for a goal. 
Ryan Smyth and Jaroslav Hlinka put Los Angeles in an early hole, and Brett Clark had two assists as Colorado won back-to-back road games for the first time in nearly two months.
   
Jason LaBarbera was sharp in his return – he finished with 36 saves – after missing the past eight games with a rib injury. He was left hanging out to dry on Hlinka’s tally, while Smyth’s game-opening goal came via the power play as the Kings were handed their fourth straight loss.
     
Meanwhile, the victory gave Colorado (19-13-1) sole possession of first place in the Northwest Division as it jumped one point ahead of the idle Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche used a quick start to catapult themselves to victory, as they outshot the Kings 16-4 in the opening period.
   
“The big thing is we got off to a good start,” Smyth said. “We’ve generated a lot in the last little bit here, and a lot has to do with the first period.”
   
The Kings got better as the game went on, but Paul Stastny’s tally in the second period put L.A. in a 3-0 hole before it started to turn things around in the third period. Dustin Brown scored on the power play just 36 seconds into the frame before Michal Handzus potted a shorthanded tally just over four minutes later to make it 3-2.
   
“It’s frustrating, because you see how good we can play,” Kings center Patrick O’Sullivan said.

“This is not the first time this has happened this year. We’ve got to figure out a way to start games like that, and we’ll be fine.”
   
But the Kings failed to notch the equalizer against Peter Budaj – who made 19 saves for his third straight win -- and Ben Guite scored an empty-net tally with 1:07 to play to seal the victory for Colorado.
   
“Tonight was a great team effort,” Smyth said. “We all chipped in. The power play played well, and the PK was pretty sound for the most part. Obviously, Budaj held us in there, too.”
   
The victory was the 413th in the career of Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, which ties him with Jack Adams for 18th place on the all-time list. Quenneville won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s top coach in 1999-2000 with the St. Louis Blues.
   
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Quenneville said when told of tying Adams in the wins department.

“We’re just happy to win more than anything. First place was on the line. That’s the reward.”
   
Material from wire services and team media were used in this report.
Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers