Ovechkin Gets 48th Goal in Capitals' Win
Mar. 30, 2006
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Rookie Alexander Ovechkin got his 48th goal of the season, Matt Bradley scored twice and backup goaltender Brent Johnson stopped 49 shots to help the Washington Capitals beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Brian Willsie and Chris Clark also had goals as the Capitals won consecutive games for the first time in three weeks.
Carolina, which clinched a playoff spot Monday night, missed an opportunity to secure the Southeast Division title. Its magic number remains at two points with 10 games left after the third straight loss to Washington, one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
No matter. The Hurricanes won the first two games in the season series by a combined score of 11-2, but they haven't had much luck since. And the teams are scheduled to meet three more times in a stretch of five days next week.
In this one, the Caps won despite getting outshot 50-28. Bradley's goals were his first since Jan. 13 _ the right wing had four assists in 20 games between goals _ but the help from Ovechkin was nothing new. He moved within three goals of the third-best total for a first-year player (Joe Nieuwendyk, 1987-88) by scoring for the fifth time in six games.
Rod Brind'Amour brought Carolina within 3-1 midway through the second period with a power play goal before Ovechkin restored the three-goal lead, also with the man-advantage.
With Ray Whitney in the penalty box for hooking, Ovechkin took a shot from in front of the net that was deflected wide. The rebound came to him on the other side of the crease, and with goaltender Cam Ward sprawled to stop the initial shot, Ovechkin had no trouble stuffing in the rebound.
That made it 4-1 and brought out some boos from the 15,548 in attendance at the RBC Center. Johnson got the nod over Olaf Kolzig and picked up his first victory since Feb. 28 despite facing Carolina's season high for shots.
The news got even worse for the Hurricanes. Rookie left wing Andrew Ladd (lower-body injury) joined six teammates in street clothes for this one, running their total of games lost to injury to 233.
Notes: Hurricanes LW Cory Stillman remained at 499 career points. ... The final two of the three games next week between the teams come in Washington. ... Ovechkin narrowly missed a second goal late in the third period on a breakaway. Teemu Selanne holds the NHL rookie record with 76 goals and 132 points, set in 1992-93.