Brooks Laich congratulates Braden Holtby on his shutout

Brooks Laich gives Braden Holtby the ol’ congratulatory helmet tap. (Photo credit: Francois Lacasse)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.

The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.

Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.

In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.

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Johansson Scores

A game-altering fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

A game-changing fight? Matt Bradley fights Paul Mara immediately after Travis Moen's fluky goal. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowic)

#Winning (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)

Returning to the Bell Center for the first time since the ill-fated 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Washington Capitals got a little bit of revenge Tuesday night, extending their winning streak to nine games in the process.

The game got off to a positively wild start with two goals and a fight in the first 1:48 of play. After Tomas Plekanec was called for a hooking penalty the Caps headed to an early power play. With a  lot help from the end boards, Marcus Johansson put the Caps up 1-nil as the dump-in from Dennis Wideman bounced right in front to the waiting Swede. Just 26 seconds later, however, Travis Moen tied things up on another odd play behind the net. Washington netminder Braden Holtby attempted to rim the puck along the boards but instead passed it right to Moen in the corner who fired the biscuit into the wide open net. Just over 20 seconds later the action continued with Matt Bradley and Paul Mara dropping the gloves right off the face-off in a bout that ended in a draw. At 13:23, Brooks Laich put the Caps on top 2-1 after picking up the perfect outlet pass from Karl Alzner, who was on the ice for nine more scoring chances and just one against. Whew. Another calm night in Montreal, I see.

Andrei Kostitsyn continued the back-and-forth play 3:28 into the second period, firing a wicked wrist-shot pass Holtby’s catching glove. Washington put forth a fury of shots in the remainder of the frame, racking up 19 for the period. It would be to no avail, however, and the teams would head to the third knotted up.

Johansson would strike once again at 6:43 in the final period, putting home a perfect backhand pass from Alex Ovechkin to give the Caps the lead. Just over ten minutes later, Mike Knuble would seal the deal converting on a two-on-one with Marco Sturm after Sturm delivered a perfect pass to the veteran winger. Take that, Frenchies. Caps top Habs, 4-2.

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Alex Ovechkin scores against the Oilers

Apparently, Ovi wants you to have a new desktop wallpaper every other day now. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Braden Holtby smiles while holding the puck commemorating his first career shutout. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Braden Holtby smiles while holding the puck commemorating his first career shutout. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

Entering tonight’s game with the Edmonton Oilers, the big story on everyone’s mind was that Alex Ovechkin’s main running-mate for the past four seasons, Nicklas Backstrom, would be sidelined for the first time in his career due to a fractured left thumb he re-aggravated Monday against the Lightning. As Backstrom’s impressive consecutive games streak ended at 341, the big unknown was if it would have a negative effect on the Capitals suddenly surging offense.

Despite their impressive play of late, the Capitals’ last eight victories have been by only a one goal margin.

Uh, not anymore.

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Overtime = OV Time: Caps Shock Islanders, 2-1 (OT)

It feels so good! Alex Ovechkin's OTGWG Against the Islanders

Your new desktop background. Click to enlarge. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

The new-look Washington Capitals featuring Jason Arnott, Marco Sturm and Dennis Wideman took to the ice Tuesday night. After 61 minutes and 55 seconds of hockey, they had done exactly what the old team did only three days ago: came from behind and squeaked out a win against the New York Islanders, though it certainly it wasn’t how they originally expected to do it.

The Capitals controlled play early on, outshooting the Islanders 10-1 midway through first frame. Washington had a numerous quality chances in the period but Nathan Lawson — who came into the game with a record of 1-4-1 and a GAA of 4.56 — shut the door, and the game was scoreless after one period of play.

The second stanza was even more lopsided than the first for the Caps in terms of shots on goal — but not on the scoreboard. Just after the 10 minute mark of the period, the Islanders’ Matt Moulson finally netted the game’s first tally, scoring on a two-on-one odd man rush. But that would be all Washington netminder Michal Neuvirth would allow as he became impenetrable for the rest of the contest.

The third period looked grim for Caps fans as nothing seemed to be able to get past Lawson — that is, until the final minute of play. With just 48 seconds remaining and Neuvirth pulled, new Cap Arnott delivered a perfect pass to Brooks Laich in the crease. He chipped in the puck and just Laich that (See what I did there? It’s awful, I know.) we had ourselves a whole new ballgame.

In overtime, well, this happened:

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Caps Rally In Uniondale, Beat Islanders, 3-2

Alex Semin scores the Game Winning Goal against the Islanders and celebrates with Backstrom and Ovechkin

Photo credit: Mike Stobe

Matt Hendricks proves once again why DJ King's unneeded on this team. (Photo credit: Kathy Kmonicek)

Hendy tried to spark the team, but instead he got his face Kanopka'd. (Photo credit: Kathy Kmonicek)

With the Washington Capitals in danger of losing a second game in two nights, their flabbergasted head coach Bruce Boudreau called a timeout and made some adjustments.

He scrapped his floundering top line and put together his dream team trio in a desperation last resort to try and spark a squad that inexplicably could not create scoring chances.

It worked.

With Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin playing together, the Capitals rallied from two goals down to beat the rapidly improving New York Islanders, 3-2, Saturday night for a pivotal road win just two days before the trade deadline.

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