Caps rout Flyers to stay unbeaten

Caps rout Flyers to stay unbeaten
October 21, 2011, 1:37 am
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PHILADELPHIA -- Alex Ovechkin wore a hard hat and a smile Thursday night, so all must be right in Capitals Nation.

Frustrated with a slow start in which he produced one goal in his first five games, Ovechkin scored twice and earned the teams hard hat award Thursday night as the Capitals used a three-goal outburst in the third period to rout the Flyers 5-2 in a surprisingly quiet Wells Fargo Center.

When hes going, its no secret, he can carry the load, said Capitals winger Joel Ward, who picked up his first goal since signing with the Caps over the summer. We just need to follow him up.

Matthieu Perreault and Roman Hamrlik also scored their first goals of the season and Tomas Vokoun outplayed Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, turning aside a season-high 40 of 42 shots for his fifth win.

As a result, the Caps are now 6-0-0, the best start in franchise history. Theyll put their perfect record to the test Saturday night at the Verizon Center when the 4-0-0 Detroit Red Wings come to town.

The win over the Flyers also extended the Caps point streak against them to nine games (6-0-3) over the past three seasons. They are also 8-1-2 in their last 11 visits to Philadelphia.

But coach Bruce Boudreau wasnt lighting a cigar after the game.

It wasnt a 5-2 game, obviously, Boudreau cautioned. We got the breaks when we needed to get the breaks.

Most importantly, they got Ovechkin back on the scoresheet. The big guy gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead late in the first period when he turned a Nicklas Backstrom stuff attempt into an open netter.

Later, Ovechkin hammered a Backstrom pass through a defending Max Talbot and through Bryzgalov for his second goal of the game and third of the season.

Its always nice to score goals, Ovechkin said. I had a couple chances in the last couple games and didnt score and now it goes in. Personally, Im happy for me.

So is Backstrom, who leads the team with eight points.
He played with a lot more energy than he has been, Backstrom said. He's the leader on our team. If he does all that kind of stuff, obviously everybody else is going to follow.
The Caps broke open a 2-1 game with three unanswered goals in the opening 4:48 of the third period. All three came on shots that were deflected or redirected in front of Bryzgalov.

Hamrlik gave the Caps a 3-1 lead when he rifled a shot off Braydon Coburn for his first goal of the year. Ovechkin followed with his power-play blast through Talbot, which came compliments of a Chris Pronger tripping penalty on Marcus Johansson. And when Ward got his stick on a Jeff Schultz blast for his first goal as a Capital, you could hear the salt falling off the Flyers fans soft pretzels.

We like the pretty ones, too, Boudreau said when asked of the Caps ugly goals. As long as they go on. Weve talked about going to the net and when you do, good things usually happen.

Vokoun stood tall the rest of the way, holding the Flyers off the board until rookie Sean Couturier scored with 15 seconds remaining.

The Caps were outshot, outhit and out-special-teamed in the first two periods, but they werent out-goaltended.

Vokoun, who never got a sniff from the Flyers in their summer pursuit of a No. 1 netminder, outplayed Bryzgalov in the first 40 minutes, turning aside 24 of 25 shots as the Caps grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals by Perreault and Ovechkin.

The Flyers actually opened the scoring when Alex Semin was stripped of the puck by Wayne Simmonds, who sent Claude Giroux in on a clean breakaway. Giroux faked Vokoun out of his pads with a sick backhand-to-forehand move that gave him his fifth goal in six games.

The Caps answered when an equally blatant giveaway by Scott Hartnell resulted in Perreaults first goal of the season. Perreault, who played a strong game on a fourth line with Matt Hendricks and Jeff Halpern, tied it with 1:20 remaining in the opening period and Ovechkin made it 2-1 with less than 12 seconds remaining, jamming a Nicklas Backstrom stuff attempt into an open net for his second goal of the season.

It stayed that way until the third period, thanks to Vokoun, who stopped James van Riemsdyk and Danny Briere three times each in the first two periods to keep the Caps in the game.