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Capitals rout Ducks 5-1 for 8th consecutive win

by John Kreiser

The Anaheim Ducks slowed down the high-powered Washington Capitals for two periods. It wasn't enough. 

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," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We talked about it in the dressing room in between periods -- we're going to go after them. We've got a good thing going. Let's just take it right to 'em and see where it leads."

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 Verizon Center. "The home crowd drives you when you're down a little, and they didn't have that. It was a lot tougher than the score indicated."

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, Washington is 11-1-0 and scored at least four goals in all but one of those games.

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 Anaheim defenseman Steve Eminger's left skate and went past Giguere. Ovechkin paid back Knuble by doing most of the work before making a perfect pass on the veteran forward's one-timer. Semin scored on a breakaway set up by a home-run pass from Brooks Laich, then connected during a 5-on-3 power play.

"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 Long Island.

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 Washington's future opponents.

"They're very comfortable playing the game the way they played it tonight," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said. "That's their game. And they played it to a T."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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