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Erskine's goal a long time coming

Tuesday, 01.26.2010 / 10:46 PM / NHL Insider

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Erskine's goal a long time coming
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- More than two years had passed since Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine had scored a goal, but the streak ended after 109 games on Tuesday night.

Erskine, who hadn't scored since Jan. 19, 2008, against the Florida Panthers, ended the drought when his wrist shot from the left circle beat Rick DiPietro at 2:36 of the second period in a 7-2 win against the New York Islanders.

It was indeed a sweet moment for Erskine, who entered the contest with six goals in 305 NHL games. Even the 29-year-old blueliner, a former Islander, couldn't believe how long it had been.

"A hundred-and-nine games … you're counting?" Erskine joked. "I know it's been a while … probably a couple of years. It's not really my job. It doesn't bug me, but it's definitely nice to help the guys get going."

Erskine's goal gave Washington a 5-1 lead after his team built a three-goal cushion before the end of the first. The stay-at-home defenseman was inexplicably permitted to skate untouched into the slot, where he rifled a nice feed from Eric Fehr past DiPietro, who started the second period after Dwayne Roloson allowed four goals on 12 shots in the opening 20 minutes.

"Fehrsie saw me and he snuck the pass through," Erskine said. "I just threw it at him and caught it right between his legs and it happened to go in."

Erskine's career high for goals in a season is two, which he accomplished in both Dallas (2002-03) and Washington (2007-08). In his final season of junior hockey, however, he had 12 goals and 31 assists for the London Knights (OHL) in 1999-2000.
"A hundred-and-nine games … you're counting? I know it's been a while … probably a couple of years. It's not really my job. It doesn't bug me, but it's definitely nice to help the guys get going." -- John Erskine on ending his goal drought

"I was very happy for him … there's not too many guys who work harder than him," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He finally gets rewarded, so that's good. You always think he should have more because he's got a good shot and he's got good offensive instincts. In junior, he was an offensive defenseman. He was on top of his game."

Everyone is on top of his game in Washington right now. Tuesday's win against the Isles was the Caps' seventh in a row.

"It definitely makes you feel good to score one," Erskine said. "I don't get them too often, so I wasn't even sure what to do when it went in. But it's always nice to get a goal. Tonight, everyone could contribute. That's why we're winning right now."

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp