Caps Thrash Atlanta in OT
After losing the first three meetings to their division rival, the Washington Capitals beat the Atlanta Thrashers for the second consecutive time on Saturday night, and did so in dramatic fashion.
With time running out in overtime, Chris Clark took a cross ice pass from Alexander Semin and relayed it to Steve Eminger. Eminger took the pass in the Atlanta slot, and made a beautiful no-look, behind-the-back pass to a wide open, streaking Semin. Semin took the pass, beat Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen with a nifty forehand-to-backhand deke, and roofed the backhand to give the Caps a 3-2 victory with just eighteen seconds remaining in overtime. Ironically, it was Washington's eighteenth win of the season.
Semin's deke was great, but Eminger's pass was better. Eminger knew he was going to be leveled by the Thrashers Bobby Holik, but bore down, made a perfect blind pass, and hit Semin in full stride. There was no hope for Lehtonen with Semin breaking in with so much speed.
For Semin, it was his second goal of the evening, and the Russian rookie sensation's 21st goal of the season. Apparently he has been working on his backhand, because the first goal was also a beautiful backhand shot. Semin took a pass from Alexander Ovechkin on the power play, and fired the backhand over Lehtonen's right shoulder to level the score at 1-1 in the second period.
Between Semin’s two goals, fellow countryman Ovechkin scored a goal in the third period to send the game to the extra period. Ovie beat Lehtonen on a slap shot to the stick side on the power play to tie the score at 2-2. Ovie avoided tying a career-long scoring drought of six games, and despite the brief scoring lapse, still leads the NHL with 26 goals (tied with Marian Hossa and Martin St. Louis).
Besides the important Southeastern Division win, the real winner on the night was Olie Kolzig. Olie received the King Clancy award, an honor given each season to the NHL player who best represents leadership on and off the ice, as well as making humanitarian contributions in the community. His charity, Athletes Against Autism, has been instrumental in raising Autism awareness and raising money to aid in the research and treatment, as well as autism education.
Usually a team storms the goal scorer in overtime to congratulate him, but many players headed straight for Kolzig after the Semin goal; some to likely congratulate him on a great 35-save performance, some to likely congratulate him for an evening that celebrated the great things that he does both on and off the ice.
Next up for the Caps is the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, January 9 at the Verizon Center. Tickets are still available, so take the family out for a great time.
- Scott Hurrey
Mark Solway contributed to this report.
This article was released on 2007-01-08.
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