Lucky 13; The Capitals Extend Winning Streak

WIth a 5-2 win over Atlanta on Friday, the Capitals pushed their franchise record winning streak to 13 games.

For the third straight game the Capitals allowed the first goal of the night. Tobias Enstrom put the Thrashers in front 1-0 by knocking in a rebound 2:46 into the game. It was his fifth goal of the season and just his second since November. A night after reaching 500 points, Alex Ovechkin tied the score 1-1 with his 39th goal of the season. With the Capitals on the power play, Ovechkin had just broken his stick, went to the bench for another, rejoined the play and blasted a slap shot past Atlanta goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Ovechkin has scored the most goals of any player against the Thrashers, 26 goals in 34 career games.

The Caps out shot the Thrashers 11-8 in the first period even though they were shorthanded four times.

In the second period, the Thrashers turned up the heat on Caps starting goalie Michal Neuvirth. He faced 22 shots in the period and stopped them all. Nicklas Backstrom scored the only goal of the period as the Capitals top line continued to stay on track. Backstrom’s goal gives him 25 for the season. He has 10 goals and 15 assists in his last 16 games.

The Capitals continued to dominate in the third period. Alexander Semin scored his 26th of season to extend the lead to 3-2. Semin finished with a goal and an assist one night after have his 10-game point streak snapped. Jason Chimera made it 4-1 with his 12th goal of the year just over a minutes later. It was Chimera’s first goal at Verizon Center as a Cap.

Rich Peverley scored shorthanded for Atlanta when Semin slid into Neuvirth and knocked the puck into the net. Peverley’s goal gave the Thrashers a glimmer of hope with under seven minutes to play.

Atlanta pulled the goalie in favor of the extra attacker, but lost a faceoff inside the Capitals zone, and Mike Green shot the puck from near his own goal line and into the net. The Capitals have outscored opponents 28-4 in the final frame over the 13 game streak.

During the 13-game winning streak the Capitals have outscored their opponents 62-29. The longest winning streak in NHL history is 17 games by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992-93. The Caps are one of just six teams ever to have a winning streak of 13 games or more.

The Capitals improved their home record to 22-3-3. With 10 straight wins at Verizon, the Caps have tied the franchise record for most consecutive home wins.

The Capitals are 26-0-2 when leading after two periods this season. Washington is 14-6-2 when allowing the first goal of the game.

Michal Neuvirth stopped 43 of 45 shots to improve to 9-4 this season. He has beaten the Thrashers twice this year, stopping 82 of the 85 shots he has faced. Ondrej Pavelec made 28 saves on the night.

Washington finished 1-for-5 on the power play. During the streak, the Caps have scored 16 times with the exta man. Less than 24 hours after allowing four power play goals, the Caps killed off all three Thrashers chances.

The Capitals are scheduled to play the Penguins on Sunday afternoon at Verizon Center. Jose Theodore needs one win to tie the Capitals record for most consecutive wins by a goalie. Pat Riggin won 10 straight in 1983-’84.

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