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Capitals, Senators and Kings are unstoppable

by Phil Coffey

Right now, there is no other way to describe the Washington Capitals, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings, who continued impressive winning streaks Thursday night.

At Madison Square Garden, the Capitals roared back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Rangers, 6-5, for their 12th straight win, bettering the franchise record in the process.

At Scotia Bank Place, the Senators improved their team-record winning streak to 11 games with a 3-1 victory against the Vancouver Canucks.

And at Staples Center, the Kings tied a franchise record with their eighth-straight win, a 6-4 triumph against the Anaheim Ducks.

Let's start with the Capitals, who appeared to be in deep trouble, falling behind the Rangers by a pair of goals on the road. But Tom Poti scored 59 seconds into the third period and Nicklas Backstrom, who also had 4 assists, scored at 5:34 to give the Capitals the victory.

Oh, and by the way, Alex Ovechkin tied San Jose's Patrick Marleau for the Rocket Richard Trophy lead, netted a pair of goals to give him 38 on the season. Ovechkin also had an assist and reached 500 points for his career.

"We just want to win, that's it," Ovechkin said. "We're pretty confident. It's a good atmosphere in the locker room. Everybody supports each other and everybody plays for each other. That's a good sign for us."

The Capitals try for a lucky 13th victory tonight when they host the new-look Atlanta Thrashers.

In Ottawa, everyone is streaking, which helps account for the Senators' overall success. Jason Spezza scored a goal in his eighth-straight game and goalie Brian Elliott won his ninth-straight game to propel the Sens past the Canucks.

"'Ells' has been phenomenal," Spezza said. "There's not enough we can say about how well he's played. He just keeps it going and it seems like every night he seems better and better, so it's going well for us."

You can say an awful lot of good things about Spezza as well. He had 2 goals against the Sabres in a 4-2 win Wednesday and has come off a knee injury with a scorching hot hand, scoring in all six games he's played since returning. He also had 2 goals in the two games prior to his injury.

"I'm not too worried. I'm just trying to keep scoring," said Spezza, whose goal streak is a personal best and one game short Dany Heatley's team-record streak of seven. "I'm feeling good about my game right now and just trying to get pucks on net."

The Senators also got strong efforts from Milan Michalek, who scored 1 goal and 1 assist, and Daniel Alfredsson, who had 3 assists.

All the Kings need to do is return to the jerseys worn during the Wayne Gretzky era, that's how well they are playing. Against the Ducks, Dustin Brown got the tie-breaking goal with 5:32 left in the third period to keep LA's streak alive.

Anze Kopitar had a pair of goals, including one in the final minute, and set up two others. Defenseman Jack Johnson scored once and added 3 assists for a career-best four-point night. The Kings needed all that offense, as the Ducks overcame a 4-1 deficit with three third-period goals before Brown put the Kings back on top.

"It's definitely not what we want," Kopitar said of the frantic third period, "but at the end of the day, the two points are the most important thing. It doesn't matter how you get it, but it just shows that we cannot let down, especially not in the third period. We got the fourth goal early, and you've got a three-goal lead."

The Kings haven't won eight in a row since 1991-92, when a team led by Gretzky matched the mark set in 1972-73. Jon Quick, who's been in goal for all eight games, broke the franchise record for consecutive wins by a goaltender held by Kelly Hrudey and Robb Stauber.

"It's been a pretty good run right now," defenseman Matt Greene said. "Guys are playing well. It's not often that you get 10, 15 guys playing their 'A' game all at the same time. It's pretty spread out. Right now, we've got a lot of guys playing at the top of their game, and I think that's showing in our play."

At 35-19-3, the Kings are off to their best start after 57 games since 1980-81. The victory moved the Kings into fourth place in the West; L.A. and Phoenix both have 73 points, but the Kings have one more victory.

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

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