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Caps 5, Senators 2

There was a time in Nicklas Backstrom's career when the center enjoyed setting up goals more than actually scoring them.

That, however, is no longer the case.

"I can't say I don't like it," Backstrom cracked after notching his 16th and 17th goals in the third period tonight to lift the Caps to a 5-2 win over the Senators and a shaky Pascal Leclaire.

Backstrom's pair of goals moved him into second on the Caps behind Alex Ovechkin, who tallied his 27th tonight. It was also the fifth multi-goal game of the season for Backstrom (he had two multi-goal games in his career before this year) and gives him nine goals in the past 11 games.

"He showed a lot of leadership because I thought we were floundering a little bit in the second period when it was 2-1," Boudreau said of Backstrom. "Then he comes out in the third period and gets two goals."

Check out my gamer here, then come on back for some notes and quotes that didn't make it:

*Goaltender Jose Theodore needed a bounce back performance, and tonight he delivered one. He made 26 stops to pick up his first win since Dec. 15. More important, though, he's got Coach Bruce Boudreau believing in him again.

"Tonight, right off the bat I felt like I controlled it, controlled the game and controlled my rebounds," Theodore said. "It's something I have been working on."

"I am just going to be ready for every game," Theodore added. "There are 40 games left, pretty much, and obviously a lot of big games, and I just want to get the ball rolling and get in a good groove. Then from there just make the decision easier for the coaching staff to play me."

*Tomas Fleischmann won 12 of 15 faceoffs tonight (80 percent) and 6 of 9 in his debut at center on Tuesday. Who would have guessed? Actually, Flash the fastest hands and perhaps the best hand-eye coordination on the team (Alexander Semin might have something to say about that statement, though).

"I had no idea," Boudreau said. "But he's got such quick hands, it makes sense that he would be good on faceoffs. Dean Evason has worked with him on that, but I think a lot of it is natural ability."

*Ovechkin scored his first goal as captain, notched two assists and fired 10 shots on goal (and attempted a total of 15). So much for that two-game pointless streak. Tonight, however, marked only the second time this season that he's reached double digits in shots.

*After missing most of the season with a balky back, Boyd Gordon has played two of the past three games and tonight scored his first goal since Jan. 1, 2009, a span of 36 regular season games. And he celebrated like it, too, dropping to a knee and doing an emphatic fist pump.

"It has kind of been an up and down year for me; it's kind of like starting the season again right now," Gordon said. "But I'm getting more and more comfortable and hopefully on [the upswing]."

*One start after getting the hook, Leclaire struggled again -- big time. No other way to put it. He probably should have stopped one of Backstrom's goals (if not both) as well as Mike Knuble's.

*Specials teams were a mixed bag for the Caps. The penalty kill snuffed out all three shorthanded situations (Mike Green made a nice diving clear on the first one). But the power play went 0-3 and is now 6 for 33 over the past nine games.

The problem with the PP, at least in Boudreau's mind, has everything to do with work ethic, or lack of it.

"We could have had could have [scored] two goals on the PP and still wouldn't have thought it was very good," he said. "We didn't outwork them. When you've got a 5 on 4, that means you've got the extra guy. Everyone was looking for the puck and [expecting] someone else to go get it."

*Fun stat of the night: The Caps have enjoyed a league best 29 multi-goal games, but no hat tricks yet.

That's it from me tonight. Practice tomorrow is at 11.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 8, 2010; 12:01 AM ET
 | Tags: Nicklas Backstrom, Ottawa Senators  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tonight's lineup: Senators at Caps
Next: Morning roundup: The finishing touch


Theo's right, his rebound control was very good tonight. I can't remember a single juicy one, versus the handful that usually bounce off him. If he can keep it up, his GAA and save percentage can only go up.

Also, go Flash! Go Backstrom!

Posted by: butcherbaker | January 8, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The Kings have over 50 shots on goal tonight yet are losing 1-0 to the Red Wings with less than 5 min to go in the game.

That's pretty crazy.

They've been dominating play since I started watching in the 2nd period.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 8, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Just as I say that, the Kings finally score. They deserved that one.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 8, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Quick must feel like crap.

O'Donnell shouldn't have let him skate in like that but Quick should've stopped it.

The Kings announcer said that was one of the best games he's ever seen the Kings play. They were completely dominating the Red Wings while I was watching.

52-24 in shots on goal, favoring the Kings.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 8, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin was +4 tonight.

Only three other Caps were even +2 (Backstrom, Knuble, Green).

Plus/Minus is an overused statistic for a lot of reasons, especially when you are looking at small sample sizes like one game, but that is still an impressive looking number for Ovechkin.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 8, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

I was so excited that I had the game DVR after work. Was doing so well with hiding from the net. Then my sister decides she misses me and calls to tell me the caps won.


Posted by: trunkenmath | January 8, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

with Blackie & Seimon shooting more that leaves O.V. to get set up from Knuckles or someone else. Thats reason why his PPG is 2nd in the league. But its a good reason . When Blackie & Seimon score this Makes the Caps really DANGEROUS something other teams do not respect YET. We now move on to setting records for the 2009-2010 season. Hurry Val we need you. we need to move Theo to a southeast bottom club...:)

Posted by: terryreece | January 8, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

【 live score】 and 【odds advise 】

Posted by: bgfgf402 | January 10, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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