ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- More skill brings higher standards, and
uneven performances are far less acceptable for the Minnesota Wild
than they were in the past.
Alex Ovechkin failed to score despite five shots on goal in the Capitals' 3-2 shootout loss in Minnesota. Ovechkin has a total of 20 SOGs in his last two games. Last season, Ovechkin had 21 shots on goal over two games in February, becoming the first player since Rob Blake in December 2001 to put 20 or more shots on goal over a two-game span.
Kim Johnsson scored two power-play goals for the Wild, who have
never lost at home to the Capitals in four meetings.
"Hopefully we can keep it going," Johnsson said.
It was a chippy game, featuring frequent stares, shoves and
glares between enforcers Derek Boogaard and Donald Brashear and 19
penalties -- 11 by Washington. But fans were treated to a thriller
at the end, once the 5-minute overtime ended without a score.
The nifty maneuver by Koivu, who diverted from his usual
backhand move and went left to sneak in the winner, ruined a solid
performance by goalie Brent Johnson.
"The second shooter pretty much put me in the corner," Johnson
said. "I thought I had long enough legs to cover, and he obviously
found a spot."
With his toe, Johnson kicked away a rebound try by Marian
Gaborik late in the third period. The Wild had a 4-on-3 advantage
with 1:49 remaining in regulation, too, and Capitals defenseman Ben
Clymer was helpless with a broken stick for a brief portion of
that. But Johnson turned away several slap shots in that situation,
and in overtime he gloved a riser fired by Nick Schultz with 32
"For us it can be looked at as a game of too many penalties,
and that's certainly in our control," Capitals coach Glen Hanlon
said. "For us, that's the only area of concern."
Semin and Dainius Zubrus each scored for Washington, which was
playing for the first time in five days.
Ovechkin, last season's rookie of the year, had a relatively
quiet night, save for the second assist on the goal by Zubrus.
"It's always scary when he gets the puck," Lemaire said.
His fellow countryman with the same first name, however,
continued his fast start. Semin, who returned to the Capitals this
year after spending the past two seasons in the Russian Super
League, moved into the NHL lead with his fifth goal -- a high shot
through man-advantage traffic that gave Washington a 2-1 lead late
in the first period. Semin and Ovechkin have seven of their team's
nine goals this year.
Johnson, the backup to fixture Olaf Kolzig, had a strong
preseason for Washington and carried that over to his first start
of the regular season.
Johnsson's first score came on an easy tap-in after a sharp cut
to the net, fed from a perfect opposite-side pass from Koivu that
made the shot nearly impossible to stop.
After scoring only six goals last season with Philadelphia,
Johnsson quickly boosted his total with his new team by grabbing a
rebound of Gaborik's shot in the second and slapping it into the
net from the back of the left circle to tie the game at 2.
The Capitals consistently stayed back on defense, refusing to
let Minnesota create any odd-man rushes. After spending millions to
upgrade their roster this summer, the Wild have more weapons than
ever and are suddenly finding their foes playing them with the same
type of tight defense they're known for.
"We have to be tougher to play against," Lemaire said.
Minnesota D Brent Burns, the team's first-round draft pick
in 2003, has been a healthy scratch for all four games. ... Wild LW
Pascal Dupuis left the ice with a sprained left knee in the first
period and did not return after limping to the training room. ...
Captain Chris Clark was credited for his fifth assist on a crisp
cross-ice pass to Zubrus that put the Caps on the scoreboard first.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Xcel Energy Center Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Referees: Eric Furlatt, Dan O'Rourke Linesmen: Mike Cvik, Andy McElman
Attendance: 18,064 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Dainius Zubrus (1)
Assists: Chris Clark, Alex Ovechkin
Kim Johnsson (1)
(Power Play) Assists: Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Alexander Semin (5)
(Power Play) Assists: Jamie Heward, Kris Beech
Kim Johnsson (2)
(Power Play) Assists: Marian Gaborik, Pavol Demitra
No scoring this period
No scoring this period
Alexander Ovechkin shootout attempt against Manny Fernandez with a Wristshot results in a SAVE!
Pavol Demitra shootout attempt against Brent Johnson with a Hit Goalpost results in a MISS!
Alexander Semin shootout attempt against Manny Fernandez with a Backhand results in a SAVE!
Mikko Koivu shootout attempt against Brent Johnson with a Wristshot results in a GOAL!
Richard Zednik shootout attempt against Manny Fernandez with a Backhand results in a SAVE!