The NHL's highest-scoring team pulled away from a 1-1 tie with four goals in the third period -- three in a 2:30 span -- and rolled over the Ducks 5-1 on Wednesday night for their eighth win in a row, their longest winning streak in 21 years.
"The guys like what they're doing -- and they like winning,"
Shaone Morrisonn broke a tie at 1:45 of the third period, Mike Knuble finished off a pass from Alex Ovechkin at 2:39 and Alexander Semin beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 4:15, giving the Caps three goals on three shots -- part of a season-high 49-shot barrage against an Anaheim team playing the fourth of six consecutive games on the road. The Ducks are 1-3-0 with two games left.
"They're in the middle of a 14-day road trip, and we're at home," said Boudreau, whose team improved to 19-3-3 at the
Semin added a power-play goal at 11:47 for his second two-goal game in as many nights. Ovechkin scored 36 seconds into the game for the Caps, who are on their best run since winning eight in a row in March 1989. The franchise record is 10 games, set in 1983-84.
Since Ovechkin became captain on Jan. 5,
The Capitals blew past the 200-goal mark for the season -- no other team had as many as 175 entering Wednesday's games -- and have scored in 21 of their last 23 periods. They had a run of 12 periods in a row before the Ducks shut them out in the second period.
The Capitals are averaging 3.83 goals per game -- more than a half-goal better than any other team -- and are on pace to become the NHL's highest-scoring team since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.
"When you're behind, you always know you have a chance to catch up," Boudreau said. "Some teams when they get behind and the scoring is tough, then they go, 'How are we going to get two goals?' And I think we have the ability to do that."
Ovechkin, perhaps the last player in the League who needs one, got a gift goal 36 seconds into the game. Knuble's pass left him so wide-open that he had time to settle the puck onto his stick before tapping in his 34th of the season.
"Easiest goal of my career," a smiling Ovechkin said.
But the Ducks regrouped after that, holding the Caps without another goal through two periods and tying the game on a goal by Dan Sexton 11:23 into the second.
Then the roof fell in.
Morrisonn's goal, his first in nearly a year, ticked off
"It's a little frustrating, because after that first goal in the period, it seemed like we just went flat. It felt like everybody just kind of quit," said Giguere, who got his first start since Jan. 3. "We were still in it. It was an unfortunate bounce off Steve's skate, but these things are going to happen. It would have been important for us to come back and re-establish ourselves after that goal. But for some reason we didn't seem to have the energy anymore to fight it off."
The third-period surge made a winner of rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who stopped 30 shots. He was backed up by Braden Holtby, who was called up from AHL Hershey after Jose Theodore went down with a lower-body injury Tuesday night on
Ironically, the game-winner belonged to Morrisonn, who hadn't scored since last Feb. 22.
"You want to get the first one out of the way and keep going from there," he said. "We want to get more offense from everybody."
Now there's a scary thought for
"They're very comfortable playing the game the way they played it tonight,"
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report