Theodore, Capitals deny Canadiens in shootout - The Hockey News on Sports Illustrated

Theodore, Capitals deny Canadiens in shootout

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WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Jose Theodore recorded 30 saves and

stopped both attempts in the shootout as the Washington Capitals

rallied to a 4-3 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on

Wednesday.

Alex Ovechkin netted his NHL-leading 42nd goal in highlight-reel

fashion and Nicklas Backstrom and Dave Steckel also tallied for

Washington, which improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine contests.

After Alexander Semin and Backstrom were both successful in the

bonus format, Theodore denied Tomas Plekanec and All-Star

defenseman Andrei Markov to seal the win.

Chris Higgins, Andrei Kostitsyn and Plekanec each scored a

power-play goal for Montreal, which went 3-for-4 with the man

advantage.

Markov notched three assists and All-Star Carey Price finished

with 32 saves for the struggling Canadiens, who are 3-10-1 in

their last 14 games.

"I was extremely satisfied; I thought we played a really good

game," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "Just at the end

there when we lost that faceoff, they tied the game. I thought

overall we played a great game against a team that was playing

extremely well lately."

Although the Capitals won in a shootout, all anyone wanted to

talk about was Ovechkin's goal - well, except the Russian

himself.

"Normal goal. It's not 'sick'," Ovechkin said.

After Higgins opened the scoring 2:33 into the first period,

Ovechkin created a stir with his highlight-reel goal midway

through the first period.

After backhanding the puck to himself in the neutral zone, the

defending Hart Trophy winner skated up the left wing, fended off

defenseman Mathieu Schneider and - while falling - tucked the

puck past Price.

"I just covered the bottom half of the net like I'm supposed to

because he's sitting on his butt," Price said. "Somehow he

found a way to get the puck off the ice when he was sitting on

his (butt). I mean, he did it against Phoenix too.

The original goal was an Ovechkin sliding, stick-behind-the-head

classic against the Phoenix Coyotes on January 16, 2006.

Ovechkin simply downplayed Wednesday's goal - relegating it to

"top 10, probably."

"You have to try something new," Ovechkin said. "Sometimes I try

in practice, and (Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau) says, 'What are

you doing?' And I say 'Sometimes I need to change my game,' so

I'm changing and it's working."

Boudreau simply heaped praise in the direction of his talented

star.

"I've seen that about a thousand times on TV, but I thought

(Wednesday's goal) was as amazing a goal as I've ever seen,"

Boudreau said.

"(But) to backhand it off the boards to self in full stride, and

then beat it ... I don't know if you know how it is to go from

backwards to forwards and beating a guy that's skating after

you, that's a tremendous feat."

With his team trailing, 3-2, Steckel's wrist shot from the slot

beat Price to level the contest with 2:39 remaining.

Plekanec nearly won it in overtime, but his blast caromed off

the left goalpost and out in the final minute of overtime.

"We'll take the point tonight; obviously we wanted to have two,"

Plekanec said. "We were pretty close to it, but the main thing

is we played a pretty good 60 minutes I think. We played

extremely disciplined defensively. ... We didn't get into

trouble too much in the game. I think we did a good job."

Backstrom and Andrei Kostitsyn traded power-play tallies nearly

3 1/2 minutes apart in the first period, before Plekanec's goal

8:57 into the third gave Montreal a brief 3-2 advantage.

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