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Caps 4, Sharks 1

Not only did the Caps snap four-game losing streak with their 4-1 victory over the Sharks tonight, they also ended a decade-long drought against San Jose, which had won the previous 11 meetings, including six straight in D.C.

But the big news at Verizon Center was Jose Theodore's injury. GM George McPhee said Theodore suffered back spasms in the first period and that the goalie will be reevaluated in the morning. McPhee also said the team will take a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether to call up a goalie from the minors.

Rookie Michal Neuvirth, by the way, has been cleared for game action after being sidelined with a hip injury, so it's possible he could get the call if Theodore can't play Saturday night.

The good news was that Varlamov came in cold and got the job done. He stopped 15 shots, including a couple of tricky ones, to help the Caps hang on.

Check out my game story here.

Some other notes and quotes that didn't make the cut:

*The Sharks were playing the first game of a six-game, 13 day road trip. And they certainly didn't seem to have their legs after a long, cross-country flight yesterday.

"Mentally, we were not even close to here we needed to be," Rob Blake said. "We played with no desperation and no drive whatsoever."

*Down the hallway, the Caps felt the high-powered Sharks' lack of production was the result of an airtight defensive effort. Funny how that works.

"We couldn't remember any major turnovers in the middle, which is really good news," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "When we play with no turnovers and we all play the way we're capable of playing, you get 36 shots on goal against a really good hockey club and you win the game."

*Boudreau complained before the game about the lack of production from his third and fourth lines. And on cue, Matt Bradley scores his second goal of the season in the third period to ice the game.

*The Sharks edged the Caps in the circle, winning 52 percent of their draws. But the Caps' David Steckel won 12 of 16 (75 percent).

*When asked what he told Evgeni Nabokov after the goalie made a first-period glove save on him, Alex Ovechkin said, "It's a secret. We're good friends and I was joking [with him] all night." After the game, Ovechkin, Nabokov and Alexander Semin spent about 10 minutes between the teams' dressing rooms chatting in Russian and exchanging phone numbers.

*Ovechkin's two goals 28 seconds apart in the second period were the fastest back-to-back goals of his career. The Caps are also 24-0-2 in Ovechkin's last 26 multiple-goal games.

*Ovechkin and Semin combined for 19 shots on goal. That's nine fewer than the Sharks had as a team.

*Kevin Lowe, one of three associate directors for Team Canada, was in the building. He told NHL.com's Dan Rosen that he watching Mike Green, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle.

When asked to compare Green and Boyle -- defensemen who could be fighting for the same spot -- Lowe told Rosen: "Obviously, Boyle has had the experience of winning a championship and has been to an Olympics even though he didn't play. He would have the experience over the other guy right now. They're actually quite similar players and they're wonderful to watch, incredible talents. They are both quick enough and calm enough in their demeanor the way they approach the game that they can get back into position if they do get out of position."

Green conceded to me the other day that he feels like a bit of a long shot right now, that he needs a really big November and December to make the Canada's Olympic team.

*I was told before the game that a few Russian teams remain interested in Michael Nylander's services. Those teams, however, have demanded that the veteran come over for a tryout before they'll enter into a loan agreement with the Caps.

*My postgame video will be a little bit late tonight. Server maintenance, I'm told.

Update: here it is.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 16, 2009; 12:06 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Roundup: Back in the Win Column

Comments

yay, we beat the Sharts!

Posted by: griz0615 | October 16, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I know GMGM has taken a lot of flack for the Nylander situation and not adding a "shutdown D man" as if he was the worst GM of all time...but let's give him some credit on Knuble and BMo. Not that Knuble was a tough sell to anyone, but the price we got him for was a steal. BMo has been excellent. If he can stay healthy his production will be very much what we need from our 2nd scoring center.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | October 16, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

What a difference a day makes, eh? Outstanding effort from all the Caps last night. They played with confidence and were tight! Great D all around, few mistakes and awesome goaltending from both Theo and Varly. I really hope Theo's injury is not serious---he's been on fire. Good to see Varly making the glove saves and not letting anything get past him. The new lines worked out great too. Yea, Caps!!!!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | October 16, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

You've got some tryouts to make in Russia, Nyls. Don't be late.

Posted by: large23220 | October 16, 2009 3:21 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik,

when you post stuff you hear could you clarify where the information is (even if it has to be something anonymous caps organization manager). I think it would help calm down the rabid rumor spinning.

I mean I was told before the game a semin trade was in the works and that ovechkin was old hat, albeit from an idiot, but still I was told.

Posted by: trunkenmath | October 16, 2009 5:32 AM | Report abuse

That was fun to watch. Really great effort.
Pretty intense begining to the game. #8 is just a joy to watch.

Posted by: ridgely1 | October 16, 2009 6:16 AM | Report abuse

now that game was alittle more like it! even though the ovi-Bmo-knub line seemed to be working,i dont think BB will keep with it.either way, i liked what i saw last night and glad to get a much needed win. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | October 16, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

John Schultz falls...a lot.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | October 16, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Had to laugh when Locker declared that one of his junior coaches gave Vlasic the nickname of "Pickle". My money says he got that nickname in, say, first grade.

Posted by: Bartolo1 | October 16, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

@Kenbeatrizz - Who? Never heard of him.

@gratefuldid - Ovi-BMo-Knubs will probably stay together until it breaks down. The Laich-Backstrom-Semin line did well last night, too. :-)

Posted by: irockthered | October 16, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

@Tarik - I'm with @trunkenmath - please say SOMETHING about where the quote came from. Otherwise, I'll be coming down with DunWannaHearAboutNylsitis again.

Posted by: irockthered | October 16, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

OH NO if the Caps win like this we'll have nothing to complain about!! Oh NO!! Lets complain cause Tarik hasnt asked GMGM for the one millionth time why Nylander isnt playing! OH NO some of us dont know why even though its been mentioned here many times!! OH NO Who is Tarik talking to?? OH NO I MUST KNOW OR MY LIFE IS EMPTY!!!

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | October 16, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Regardless of the source, whether it's Ted or Slapshot, I won't believe it until I see it.

Posted by: hockeyweasel | October 16, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh is 6-1 and 5-0 on road games. Their only loss came with Brent Johnson in the net. They look like they are already in mid-season form. Until the Capitals start playing and winning consistently like last night, there is no point in feeling good about themselves. Especially when the Rangers are also 6-1 and Tampa is only 2 points behind the Caps with a game in hand. The whole point is to play as consistently or better than those other teams through out the season and start treating all the games as an extended Pre-Playoff. Evaluate every block of 7 games (even against different teams) as a mini-playoff series. So far, the Capitals are still pushing everything to 7 games and losing their first mock series (3 wins and 4 losses), while Pittsburgh and the Rangers basically won theirs in less than 5 games. I understand there is no way that the Capitals can win every game, but that is the type of mental exercise needed by this team to be a proven winner in the Post-Season. Try treating everything as best of 7 series, win 4 games as quickly as possible and move to the next series. Otherwise, it is just another exercise of taking their chances in game 7s.

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 16, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who is predicting playoff performance after 6 games obviously hasn't watched hockey very long. The Caps will have their share of 5 or 6 game winning streaks just like other teams that are hot now will go through streaks where they play .500 hockey. Tampa has had an easy first 2 weeks and in case you don't actually read other box scores got routed last night, they will fall to the middle/bottom of the pack as the season plays out. The Rags are paper thin and as soon as they get an injury, the 2 rookie Dmen who are playing over their heads start feeling the strain of the NHL, and Torts and Avery destroy the chemistry they too will fall back. The Caps are fine, they have worked out some different line combos that will serve them well thru the season, the D has shown improvement, and the goal tending has been better than most people expected. If the standings still look the same at Christmas time then your concern will carry more weight.

Posted by: ds_kelly | October 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that maybe the Theo injury was not really an injury at all? Perhaps George wanted to evaluate Semyon now that Neuvirth is ready down in Hershey. Start Theo, get the game off on the right foot, and then thrown Varly in there to see how he plays and how the guys respond to playing in front of him. Let's face it, he hadn't turned many heads in his action to date, especially the glove hand. Seems to me it was a good test to see where he was mentally, if he didn't play well maybe is was time to give Neuvy a shot. Just a thought....

Posted by: crosbyisajoke | October 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

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