By Joe Reedy
VANCOUVER After starting the season with wins in their first seven games, the Capitals have dropped two straight.
Tied at four through two periods, Vancouver scored twice in a 44 second span to beat the Capitals 7-4 at Rogers Arena on Saturday night.
We turned it into a 20-minute game and then they took it, said Mike Knuble, who had a goal and an assist.
Alexander Ovechkin, who came into the game with only two goals against the Canucks, scored two goals in the Hockey Night in Canada late-night feature but it wasnt enough. Saturdays loss marked the first time since last years 7-0 rout by the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12 that they had given up seven goals or more in a game.
Said Ovechkin, who has five goals on the season: They started hard and put pressure on us. We scored two goals in the second and played good but in the third period my penalty was at the wrong time.
It also was only the ninth time in last 30 road games an opponent has scored three or more goals on the Caps.
It definitely was not a good night for Tomas Vokoun, who was pulled after one period when he gave up three goals on 17 shots. Michael Neuvirth, who saw his first action since the Oct. 8 opener against Carolina, looked good in the second but struggled in the third as the Canucks regained momentum. Neuvirth ended up giving up four goals on 26 shots.
While the players said that they hung Vokoun out to dry in the first period, Boudreau said he pulled Vokoun because he didnt look sharp.
Vokoun though seemed to differ.
I felt pretty good honestly, he said. I definitely made a mistake on the first goal. The second goal I was down after making the save and on the third goal I never saw it.
Hes got a better view of it then me. Im playing so I cant see myself. Internally I felt good but it was 3-1 so coach made a change. Its his decision.
It was the first time in 17 games that Vokoun had been lifted. The last time was March 3 of last season when he was in goal for Florida against Montreal and he allowed two goals on the first three shots.
With four games in eight days, starting Tuesday at home against Anaheim and including a back-to-back road set against Carolina and the Islanders, Vokoun and Neuvirth could split the starts.
Maxim Lapierre, Alexander Edler and Chris Higgins each had two goals. Henrik Sedins goal 6 minutes, 18 seconds into the third period, which came three seconds after the Caps had killed off an Ovechkin interference penalty, ended up being the game-winner.
Roberto Luongo, who came into the game 2-3-1, was not sharp but ended up making 28 saves. Luongo is now 13-1 against Ovechkin-led teams.
The other thing that Boudreau was not happy about was penalty killing. In the losses to the Oilers and Canucks, the Caps gave up four power-play goals and were 9 of 13 with a man down.
Our penalty killing is not good right now, Boudreau said. That put us in a big hole in both games that we lost and we have to shore that up. We had a lot of lazy penalties.
Ovechkins first goal evened things at one 8:55 into the first when he rushed the net and got enough of his stick on the rebound of a shot to put it over Luongos back into the net.
After power play goals by Higgins and Edler put the Canucks up by two after one, the Caps tied it at three with two goals in the first 5:07 of the second period on an Ovechkin one timer and a Knuble penalty shot that went out of Luongos glove.
Edler put the Canucks back on top but Marcus Johansson scored his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway when he rifled one past Luongo at 17:54 to tie it at four after two.
Sedin got the game winner as he put in the puck in a wide open net after the Canucks had rushed the net. A Higgins one-timer and Lapierre goal finished off the scoring.
You go off and win seven in a row and maybe things get swept under the rug a little bit, Knuble said. Its a good reality check early in the year that you have to be on every night. We were talented enough to come back but in the third they wanted it more and felt it was their game to win and we werent so sure.