Saturday, July 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ovechkin's 40th goal fuels Capitals

PATRICK SMITH / GETTY IMAGES John Kerry drops puck between Winnipeg´s Blake Wheeler (left) and Washington´s John Carlson, who will play for the U.S. in the Olympics.
PATRICK SMITH / GETTY IMAGES John Kerry drops puck between Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler (left) and Washington's John Carlson, who will play for the U.S. in the Olympics.
AFTER GETTING an Olympic send-off from Secretary of State John Kerry, Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 40th goal with 12:14 remaining last night as the Washington Capitals rallied from a third-period deficit for a 4-2 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets.

Ovechkin put the Capitals ahead by lifting the puck over a pile of bodies in the crease, following up after Nicklas Backstrom had taken two whacks at a rebound before sliding into goaltender Ondrej Pavelec.

Troy Brouwer scored twice, Tom Wilson had a goal, and Braden Holtby made 34 saves for the Capitals, who are trying to generate at least a modicum of momentum headed into the Olympic break. Washington had dropped 10 of its previous 13, including a 1-0 shutout loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Bryan Little and Dustin Byfuglien scored, and Pavelec stopped 26 shots for the Jets, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Winnipeg is nevertheless 9-3 since coach Claude Noel was fired on Jan. 12 and replaced by Paul Maurice, putting the team on the cusp of the playoff race.

With the NHL's Olympic break beginning after tomorrow's games, Kerry was on hand to recognize the four players from each team headed to Sochi. He performed a ceremonial puck drop at center ice between the two U.S. players, Winnipeg's Blake Wheeler and Washington's John Carlson.

Kerry also met with Capitals coaches and players in the locker room before the game.

In other games

* At New York, Nail Yakupov scored with 1:38 left in regulation to give the Edmonton Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Rangers.

New York's season-high four-game winning streak came to an end.

* At Uniondale, N.Y., Matt Stajan scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and rookie Reto Berra made 28 saves as the Calgary Flames beat the New York Islanders, 4-2.

Stajan banked the puck off Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov from a sharp angle at 14:28 to lift the Flames to their sixth victory in seven games and their first at Nassau Coliseum since 2004.

The Flames visit the Flyers on Saturday afternoon.

* At St. Louis, T.J. Oshie scored 3:29 into overtime, leading the Blues to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.

It was the first Blues' home win against the Bruins since Oct. 6, 2006, in a shootout. The last regulation win at home against Boston came on Dec. 18, 1999.

* At Sunrise, Fla., Gustav Nyquist scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, helping lift the Detroit Red Wings over the Florida Panthers. 3-1.

The Red Wings snapped a four-game road losing streak.

* At Tampa, Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1.

Mason Raymond, Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak scored for Toronto, which was coming of a 4-1 loss Tuesday night at Florida.

* At Ottawa, Milan Michalek scored his second goal of the game with 23 second left as the Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2. Erik Karlsson also scored for the Senators and Craig Anderson made 30 saves.

* At Montreal, Max Pacioretty scored three goals for his third career hat trick - despite missing on two penalty shots - to help the Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Canucks that extended Vancouver's losing streak to six games. Ryan White and Tomas Plekanec also scored for Montreal, while Carey Price made 42 saves.

* At St. Paul, Minn., Nino Niederreiter's goal with 2:44 left in overtime lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.

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