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Caps shock Senators at home

by Adam Schwartz
Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals snapped the Senators eight game winning streak with Thursday's 4-1 win.
The struggling Washington Capitals were an unlikely opponent to stop the red-hot Ottawa Senators, but they did just that on Thursday night.

Washington had lost four in a row and six of its last seven games, while Ottawa had won eight in a row. But the Senators got 27 saves from Olaf Kolzig and a goal and two assists in the second period from Viktor Kozlov in a surprising 4-1 victory at Scotiabank Place. ( 700K )

Kolzig said he could feel the win coming.

“Teams that get on rolls like that, for whatever reason, I don't think they're overconfident but they're ready to be beat — and we really stepped it up tonight,” he said.

Kozlov, Nicklas Backstrom and Tomas Fleischman scored in the middle period to put the Capitals up 3-0. Daniel Alfredsson scored his 11th goal late in the second for Ottawa, which fell to 12-2-0. Alexander Ovechkin added a third-period goal for the Caps, who hadn’t won since their last trip to Canada — a 7-1 blowout of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 29.

Ottawa hadn’t lost since a 5-3 defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes at home on Oct. 11, but the Senators didn’t look like the team that had won 12 of its first 13 games.

“We had our chances in the first and then early in the second, it’s a tie game and we got a 5-on-3, and when you lose the game, that's where we kind of look back and say that could have been the difference,” Alfredsson said. “We were taking too many penalties and giving them too much momentum for being on the road.”

The Caps have struggled badly after winning their first three games, and a victory over the hottest team in the Eastern Conference figures to give them a boost.

“There's no question we can draw a little bit of confidence from this, and there is a little bit of weight taken off our shoulders, but we're still under .500 and we're still a long way from where we want to be,” Kolzig said. “But for a young team, we can really use this as a confidence builder.”

Kozlov, who had 25 goals with the Islanders last season before signing as a free agent this summer, scored just his second of the season on a backhander at 12:10 in the second period. He hadn’t scored since getting the game-winner against his former team on Oct. 8.

Backstrom, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 Draft, extended the lead to 2-0 when he scored his first NHL goal at 14:27 of the second period while the Capitals were on the power play with Ottawa’s Shean Donovan off for hooking. He poked a loose puck behind goalie Ray Emery.

“It was nice, and we won the game, too, so that was the most important thing,” said the Swedish rookie, who turns 20 on Nov. 23. “It was just a bonus for me, my first goal, but it was a great feeling.”

Tomas Fleischman made it 3-0 at 17:55 with a shot over Emery’s right shoulder, stunning the sellout crowd of 19,666. They perked up when Alfredsson took a pass from Mike Fisher and beat Kolzig just 54 seconds later. But Ovechkin’s 10th goal of the season at 16:15 of the third period sealed the outcome.

Kolzig’s biggest save of the night came in the opening 10 seconds, when he stopped Chris Kelly’s backhander on a 2-on-1.

“That was something,” Kolzig said. “That's happened a couple of times this year and teams have actually scored and it kind of deflates teams a little bit. Guys sitting there going, 'Wow, I wonder what this is going to be like?' But I got my stick on the puck, the D got it back into me and we were able to get regrouped and have a faceoff and go from there, but it definitely got my attention early.”

The Senators were without star center Jason Spezza for the fifth straight game. Spezza has been out of the lineup due to a groin injury. They also lost defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who left in the first period with a bruised right thigh and didn’t return.

It was only the third start of the season for Emery, who led the Senators to the Stanley Cup Final last spring, but has been supplanted by Martin Gerber after offseason wrist surgery.


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