Capitals Get Shootout Win Over Islanders

Monday, February 5th 2007, 6:31 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As they strive to get back into the playoff picture, the Washington Capitals can take heart in knowing they can win without getting an ample contribution from Alex Ovechkin. The NHL's leading goal scorer managed only two shots Sunday, none of which went into the net. He didn't have an assist, either. Yet the Capitals won anyway.

Alexander Semin scored the lone goal in a shootout, Olie Kolzig had 31 saves and Washington snapped a three-game skid with a 2-1 victory.

Ovechkin, who came in with 33 goals, took his first shot with 9:17 left in regulation. His next came in overtime. And that was it. He also misfired in the shootout, launching a shot that hit goaltender Rick DiPietro squarely on the pads.

It marked the first time this season Ovechkin was held scoreless in a second straight game; he also came up empty on Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Pittsburgh.

But the Capitals got two points in the standings, and that mattered more to the second-year star than his zero-point performance.

``We will take these points. I'm happy we win,'' Ovechkin said. ``We lose eight in 10 and we forget what it feels like winning. This game was important to us.''

In the only other NHL game on Sunday, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime.

After Semin beat DiPietro to open the shootout, Kolzig was flawless. He stopped Miroslav Satan, Viktor Kozlov and Jason Blake to give Washington its first shootout victory in six tries this season.

``We finally got one,'' Kolzig said. ``Hopefully it's a sign for us.''

Mike Sillinger scored the lone goal for the Islanders, and DiPietro stopped 30 shots.

``Ricky played great for us,'' New York coach Ted Nolan said. ``A couple of big saves got us to (the shootout).''

Each of the Islanders' last three defeats have come after they played to a tie in regulation.

``It's tough when you lose that extra point,'' Nolan said. ``The shootout is more of a skills competition. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't.''

On this day, absolutely nothing went in for Ovechkin.

``He's probably one of the best players in the league,'' said Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt, a former Capital. ``You have to take away his time and space because he's got all the tools.''

In the shootout, Semin went first. He went straight at DiPietro, deked right and stuffed a backhander into the net. Kolzig did the rest.

``Olie played the last two games unbelievably and we haven't given him much support. But he came through in the shootout,'' said Matt Pettinger, who scored the Capitals' lone goal in regulation, at 2:52 of the first period.

DiPietro hit the ice hard after being upended in the net by a sliding Ovechkin with 12:09 left in regulation, but remained in goal to the finish.

``They definitely cycled the puck well. Semin's line was doing a great job down low creating chances, but we were doing a great job clearing rebounds in front of the net,'' DiPietro said.

Down 1-0, the Islanders pulled even at 27 seconds of the second period. With Witt in the penalty box, Trent Hunter took a shot from the left circle that glanced off Kolzig to Sillinger, who tapped in the rebound from right of the crease.

New York outshot Washington 13-5 in the period, in part because the Capitals were forced to kill three penalties. Bottled up in its own end for much of the time, Washington managed only one shot on goal over the period's initial 14 minutes.

Kolzig kept the Capitals in the game with several fine saves, including one late in the period when he sprawled on his back to block a shot by Blake.

Washington went 0-for-4 on the power play; New York is 14-for-14 on the penalty kill over the last three games.

Canadiens 4, Penguins 3, OT

At Montreal, Sheldon Souray scored 2:01 into overtime and the Canadiens ended Pittsburgh's six-game winning streak.

Tomas Plekanec scored twice in regulation before setting up Souray's winner on a 2-on-1. Souray, ejected from Montreal's shootout loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday for fighting with Colby Armstrong, one-timed Plekanec's pass, driving a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury into the right side of the net.

Sidney Crosby, who had an eight-game point streak snapped Saturday, assisted on power-play goals by Jordan Staal and Ryan Whitney. The 19-year-old forward leads the NHL with 59 assists and 84 points.

The Penguins' winning streak was their longest since they won six in a row from Jan. 17-26, 2002. Pittsburgh has recorded points in 10 straight games (8-0-2).

Michel Ouellet tied it at 3 on the Penguins' third power-play goal of the game with 2:34 remaining in regulation.

Mark Streit added a power-play goal for Montreal.