Chimera lifts Capitals past Jets in OT

Chimera lifts Capitals past Jets in OT
November 24, 2011, 2:37 am
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If Jason Chimera plans on continuing his 33-goal pace, he might want to start working on his goal celebrations.

The Capitals' 32-year-old left wing scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 1:52 into overtime, to give the Caps a pulsating 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Chimera celebrated the goal, his team-high eighth of the season, by tripping over his own skates, creating a pileup behind the Winnipeg net.

"I did a toe pick there and just fell down," Chimera said. "I told the guys I didn't dive. I'm not a soccer player, so I'm not diving on the ice to celebrate my goals. My dad would kick my butt if he thought I dived to celebrate."

Chimera's goal, which came after a heads-up pass from Dennis Wideman, salvaged a game in which the Capitals took three leads and blew all of them.

Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin also scored for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin had one of his most complete games of the season as the Caps won their second game in a row and improved their record to 12-7-1.

"It was tough because every time we scored they scored right back," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude and character to keep coming back and we did every time."

Ovechkin finished with just one assist but played a hard physical game, dropping Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien to the ice in several times. He also generated much of the Capitals' offense from strong positional play the defensive zone and kept his shifts to an average of just 49 seconds, two of the most common criticisms against him.

"When the crowd started chanting (Ovie) I thought people were bouncing off him," Boudreau said of Ovechkin, who was credited with four hits. "I know he's frustrated. He wants to score in front of the home crowd more than anything in the world."

The win was also a welcome releif for Tomas Vokoun, who was shaky in allowing three goals on 25 shots.

Less than a minute after the Caps thought they had taken a 4-2 lead on a goal by Mike Knuble the Jets tied the score at 3-3 on Bryan Little's fifth goal of the season with 7:24 remaining in regulation.

Knuble beat Ondrej Pavelev with a backhander with 8:05 to play, but the goal was waved off when it was determined Matt Hendricks interfered with the Jets goalie. Replays showed Hendricks was helped into Pavelec by Byfuglien.

On the Jets' next possession, Blake Wheeler crossed the blue line and fed Little in the left circle. Little's wrist shot looked like it was stoppable, but it found its way past Vokoun's stick side to knot the score at 3-3.

"I saw it all the way," Vokoun said. "It was a bad goal."

The Caps coughed up a pair of first-period leads before Backstrom put them ahead 3:08 into the second.

Rookie defenseman Dmitry Orlov fired a shot on goal and Troy Brouwer jammed at the rebound before Backstrom slipped it behinf Ondrej Pavelec. It marked the second time in Backstrom's NHL career that he scored on hs birthday. The first came four years ago in Boudreau's first game behind the Washington bench.

The Caps drew a ton of energy from their penalty killers, who held the Jets scoreless during a wild 5-on-3 in the second period that lasted 80 seconds. Brooks Laich spent much of those 80 seconds without a stick, which broke on a defensive zone faceoff. That left Jeff Schultz, Matt Hendricks and Vokoun scrambling to block shots. At one point Laich chased after Kyle Wellwood, grabbed his stick out of his hands and tossed it to the boards.

"Big turning point in the game," Boudreau said. "It got the crowd eeally engaged in the game and it got the bench really up. They did a great job out there."

Semin's goal, his fifth of the season, was a thing of beauty. It started deep in the defensive zone with a long outlet pass from John Carlson to Ovechkin, who caught the pass just outside his own blue line, chugged down the ice and slid a perfect pass through defenseman Mark Stuart and onto the stick of Semin. The enigmatic winger roofed a shot over Pavelec's glove, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The Jets evened the score when Roman Hamrlik got tied up in the neutral zone, creating a 2-on-1 with Wideman back. Ladd finished off a pass from Nik Antropov for his sevrnth of the season.

Twelve seconds later another bang-bang passing play -- this time Laich to Chimera -- gave the Caps a 2-1 lead, but the Jets responded when a shot from ladd was broken down in front and landed at the feet of Wellwood, who easily desposited his seventh of the season.


John Erskine (shoulder) sat out his second straight game but spent more than an hour on the ice Wedneday morning and could return on Friday when the Caps play the Rangers at at 4 p.m. In is place, rookie Dmitry Orlov played his second NHL game alongside Karl Alzner. Meanwhile, Mike Green remains shelved with a groin injury that is moe seroious than first believed. Green has not skated since Nov. 11 and Boudreau said he does not know when he'll skate again. ... Alex Ovechkin's average shift lasted just 49 seconds. Last season it hovered around 1 minute and before that it was well over a minute. Ovechkin played along the left half wall on a top power-play unit with center Nicklas Backrom and right wing Troy Brouwer and point men Brooks Laich and Dennis Wideman. The second unit had forwards Alex Semin, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble, along with defensemen Roman Hamrlik and John Carlson. With Joel Ward sitting out the game for missing a team meeting on Tuesday, Boudreau went with these forward line combinations: Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Troy Brouwer; Cody Eakin-Marcus Johansson-Mike Knuble; Jason Chimera-Brooks Laich-Alex Semin; and Matt Hendricks-Mathieu Perreault-Jeff Halpern.