Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin and Capitals stay hot, win seventh straight game beating Carolina 2-1

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Seems like it was just a few weeks ago we were lamenting the struggles of the Washington Capitals and how it appeared they were setting themselves and their fans up for more failure in the postseason.

Funny how things change as the Caps won their seventh straight game tonight beating Carolina 2-1 and once again it was captain Alex Ovechkin leading the charge for the team. Ovechkin’s goal 47 seconds into the third period tied the game at 1-1, providing the equalizer for Tuomo Ruutu’s goal late in the second period.

The momentum the Caps gained from Ovechkin’s 28th goal of the season carried them through the rest of the period and ultimately paid off when Matt Hendricks put home a rebound from a Jason Arnott shot at 7:24 of the third to provide the difference maker.

Rookie Braden Holtby was strong all night in goal for the Caps stopping 40 of 41 Hurricanes shots. For the 21 year-old, he’s helping make life pleasantly difficult for coach Bruce Boudreau in goal as the team has Michal Neuvirth healthy and playing for them as well and Semyon Varlamov struggling with injury and out of the lineup. Holtby’s play is proving to be an inspiration for the team and his quirky play is helping rally the fans as well.

The win moves Washington ahead of Tampa Bay in the Southeast Division by four points as the Lightning lost to Ottawa tonight. The Caps win coupled with the Bruins loss to the Islanders puts the Caps in second in the Eastern Conference by three points and just two points behind the Flyers for the top spot overall.

Carolina with the loss fails to gain ground on the Rangers and Sabres who are tied for seventh place in the East.

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.