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Caps 5, Islanders 4 (OT)

The Capitals earned two points on Long Island tonight and stretched their winning streak to four games thanks to a record breaking goal by Alex Ovechkin.

But Coach Bruce Boudreau was not smiling afterward. He was upset with his team's effort, particularly during a forgettable the third period in which they blew a two goal lead.

"We let them back in the game when he had them on the hook at 2-0," Boudreau said. "It looked like we were taking everything for granted, that everything was going to turn out okay."

"We got lucky today," he added.

No one in the Capitals' dressing room would argue with that.

*Ovechkin's overtime goal was the sixth of his career, which set a franchise record. He had been tied with Peter Bondra and Kelly Miller.

Ovechkin, by the way, earned the hard hat, which he wore with pride after the game.

*Ovechkin's goal capped a weird day on Long Island. First, a blizzard materialized out of nowhere (it's still snowing, I'm told). Then Capitals did not have a net for the first few minutes of warm-ups because of some sort of a mix up. And then there were no replays in the press box - because Nassau Coliseum doesn't get Versus. Go figure.

*Former Caps defenseman Brendan Witt was a minus-5 for the Islanders. Ouch.

*The Islanders have lost seven in a row and nine of 10. Ouch, again.

*Boudreau, as I mentioned before, wasn't a happy coach after the game. But he did praise the effort of Milan Jurcina (goal, three hits), calling him the Caps' best defenseman.

Jurcina, in my opinion, has looked much better since being paired with Karl Alzner.

"When you play 17, 18, 19 minutes a game that helps," Jurcina said. "That gets you more into the tempo of the game. ...Playing with Karl is also good. We have good chemistry together."

*The Capitals should trade for Jon Sim and then banish him to the minors. Forever. The guy has 58 career NHL goals - and 12 have come against the Caps. Jeez.

*Brent Johnson won his fifth straight game, but he wasn't dominant as he had been in the wins over Boston and Ottawa. That said, he made the saves when they mattered.

"He didn't get a lot of help; [Tom] Poti put the first one in," Boudreau said. "The goals they scored, except for maybe the third one, hit things. But when you make the big save with 30 seconds to go [on Bill Guerin] that's what matters. It was a great save and he made it when it counted."

*Michael Nylander didn't factor into the scoring, but he won nine of his 12 faceoffs (75 percent). Boyd Gordon and David Steckel were also good, winning 63 and 67 percent, respectively.

*Call-up Sean Collins had a tough night. He was in the box for two of the Isles' goals.

*The Caps had thwarted 18 straight shorthanded situations. Tonight, the Islanders were 2 for 5 on the power play.

The Caps' PP, meantime, came up empty for the first time in five games.

That's all for tonight. I'll check in from KCI tomorrow morning, where Boudreau said "everyone, and I mean, everyone" will be on the ice for practice.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 16, 2008; 11:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

a Win is a Win...who cares if the Isles get a point. A good excperience to learn to keep at them.

Posted by: RichC3 | December 16, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

caps need to learn a killer instinct, this team as far as i can remember is either fighting to come back in a game where they started slow or they struggle to hold onto a lead. Goes to back to one thing - 60 minutes. You can rest assured if the Caps go into a 3rd pd with a lead that they'll probably let up and let the other team back in it. Good that Boudreau wasn't smiling after this win.

Posted by: cstanton1 | December 17, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm happy we won. i dont care if we blew the lead, whatever...2 pts sounds good to me. and NYI...please no threat there give them a point what are they going to do with it. WOOHOO CAPS WON!

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 17, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

We got our butts handed to us in the third but managed to get lucky. That was a heck of a shot by OV.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | December 17, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

We are good, not lucky. Go Caps

Posted by: hank7216 | December 17, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

The arena didn't get the network that was broadcasting the game from the arena.

Sounds straight out of Spinal Tap.

Posted by: EricS2 | December 17, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Sigh...Another game where i go to bed early expecting a 2-0 lead on the NYI to be enough, then wake up to realize they nearly dropped the ball.

I am happy for the point, and recognize this is the NHL where any team could win at any time, but bleh the Caps should have hammered them.

Posted by: trunkenmath | December 17, 2008 6:00 AM | Report abuse

that effort in the 3rg period will not beat the Flyers. coach B saw this. Ovie, made the play, another MVP thing that he does. But I thought the big boys were too cute tonight. The behind the back pass by Semin was big-time. But that line should have gotten more. The whole team lagged in the 3rd. This has been a problem. Philly will tell us where we stand. The Blues can't be overlooked, but the next road battle is Philly. We did come away with 4 points and that makes this a very successful trip. The Islanders were not going to just go away. Not at home. Not on Versus. Not with Bossy doing between period interviews. How come noone interviews GMGM?

Posted by: ergoroc | December 17, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

GMGM is dead, no one interviews dead people.

Posted by: majiksea | December 17, 2008 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are good, and I am glad they won, but they fell apart in the third last night - they got lucky with that win. That was one of those games that they probably would not have won without Ovie. Johnny was good last night but not great - he was south of .900. However, he should not have faced 39 shots! Where was the D? I expected the Caps to have high shots and goals, but not the NYIs (I predicted 5-1). Yup, that was a bittersweet victory - it was a game to learn from. I hope they play better at home tomorrow.

Speaking of, do the Caps have the best record at home right now?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Hahaha. Agreed. This kind of an effort is not going to beat the Flyers, but then somehow I think that this team is not exactly going to come out flat against the Flyers, either. Our boys are still smarting after game 7, and so are the fans. You can bet they'll come out flying and be looking to win. I'm not that worried about the Flyers, at least not yet. We can beat anyone when we bring our A game, and our A game that was not, last night. Not even close.

Now, the Blues - that's another story. For some reason, I'm more worried about the Blues, because the Blues' record isn't all that, either, and we have a habit of slacking off when we have the upper hand and know it. Maybe putting Varlamov in goal would be good - give Johnny a rest and a break before facing the Flyers, because mark me, he will be in goal against the Flyers, and I wouldn't want him anywhere else.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: Best record in the Eastern Conference. The only one better is the Sharks.

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Kitty. So is San Jose still undefeated at home?

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

And the Ducks give away the game last night, so still 3 points out of the 2 seed. Frick.

Posted by: Section117 | December 17, 2008 7:43 AM | Report abuse

@Boo,

(btw I reiterate that I like the new nick :) )

SJS are 16-0-2 at home. And won 11 of the last 12 games. They're playing incredible hockey right now.

@Greg re: Sharks. They did what I think we should have done last summer. Picked up Blake, who helped their D become the best in the NHL.

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: Yes, they're 16-0-2 at home. (Sick.)

The way I look at it is that it's two points. The ugliest two points you ever did see, and far from this team's capabilities. We should have stomped the Islanders. But it's two points, and I'll take it and cheerfully thank Ovi (who is worth every penny of his salary and then some).

And Gabby had better run the special teams through the wringer this morning. I don't like the idea of punishing the guys for a bad game but ... man, the PK was uglier than Nancy Pelosi in blue lipstick. :(

Posted by: kittypawz | December 17, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe San Jose's record at home ... ugh.

mauree:
Thanks - I still prefer the "other", but I'm not sure I could remember the login. Besides, it was Leeguru's choice, and the guru has spoken!

kitty:
I would not call that ugly. To me, ugly is when we win because of grit, scrappy play and crashing the net (etc.). We won last night despite ourselves in the third. We barely shot the puck (ugly or otherwise) and let them shoot waaay too much. Sure, I'll take the two points, but like I said, it's a bittersweet win.

Posted by: --Boo-- | December 17, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

@pawz

It wasn't a pretty win, but I think we're moving in the right direction. The first two periods we did have glimpses of "killer instinct". At times, we looked like on a powerplay while 5 on 5.

The reason why I think we're improving is that in the (recent) past we would have played all 60 minutes like the 3rd against a weaker team, and probably would have lost.

We're still suffering from it, too many turnovers last night... but I have the feeling that the team is maturing. Sooner or later they'll realize, or maybe they're already finding out, that a being the best doesn't mean squat if your name isn't on the Cup.

btw pawz, I think you and I are the official doomers :p and should keep it up as it's bringing luck haha.

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The mark of a great team (maybe even a good team) is that you still win when you don't play your best. I will take it...wicked shot by ovie.

Posted by: CelticFCbhoys | December 17, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know how hard it is to move from right to left as right shot and beat a goalie seven hole blocker side? That was sick!!! OVer Time!!!!!!!!!!!
As for blowing a lead... this is something that I don't think the Caps are real use to. We will learn and last night's game was a good way to learn. Go to http://www.Versus.com and check out the highlight!

Posted by: psugolf | December 17, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The Caps don't need to trade to get Sim, he's available on waivers from the Islanders (of course, they'd pull him back if the Caps claimed him...)

He's not a bad player (not good mind you). His best numbers come against the Caps, but what is also insteresting is that his second-best numbers come against Carolina....If we didn't have Matt Bradley on this team, Sim would be the kind of player to look for in that role. Bradley has a more complete game. Both have a great work ethic and leave nothing in the dressing room, expending everything they have every shift. Sim has a bit more of a scoring touch, Brads is probably a better fighter.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | December 17, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

@psugolf - Ovie's goal was NHL Network's highlight of the night, and Ovie was their Player of the night.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | December 17, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's an attitude like this, even after a win, that is the reason the Caps are the only team in this city worth watching at the moment.

Great job Bruce, keep it up.

Posted by: nford2 | December 17, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Don't you just love a team that can play bad and still win. I am sick of the other sports teams (Redskins and Wizards) in Washington with mediocre talents and are forced to play a "perfect" game in order to be competitive, let alone win. I am also sick of them always saying they gave their "110%" when they really had nothing to give! The Capitals have real stars and talents on their team that is worthy of cheering and respect. I am also hoping that Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom will all overtake Malken and Crosby in the scoring lead! Go Caps!

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 17, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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