The surge of the Washington Capitals continues.
They won their 8th straight against the Chicago Blackhawks today on national TV in overtime, 4-3. Mike Knuble scored the overtime goal, sitting in front of the net as he does, and lifting the Caps to the win and their 90th standing point, 1 back from Philadelphia for the Eastern Conference lead.
Incredible enough, the Caps put up two markers in the first period. This from a team that sits dead last in first period goals. Nick Leddy put the Blackhawks up 1-0 a little over 4 minutes into the first period. The Caps have become accustomed to falling behind early. That lead would last under two minutes when Boyd Gordon struck for the 2nd time in the last 5 games, the Capitals second shorthanded goal of the season. Gordon put a nasty slapper past Corey Crawford for his 3rd of the season, unassisted. Jason Arnott struck on the power play with 54 seconds left in the first period, to send the Caps into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead. Arnott's goal came from the point and was assisted by Alexander Semin and Dennis Wideman. Caps out shot the Hawks 10-9.
Tomas Kopecky scored the only goal of the second period to knot the game at 2-2. Capitals out shot the Hawks 12-10.
The third period was a thrill to watch as both teams had some exception scoring opportunities and both net minders made some seriously impressive saves. Brooks Laich gave the Caps the lead back 6 minutes into the third period, taking a rebound for his 15th goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Matt Hendricks and Eric Fehr. With the third period dwindling away, Washington got into penalty trouble under two minutes left, on a Marcus Johansson hooking penalty. With Crawford pulled for the empty net, Johnathan Toews scored his 29th goal on the 6 on 4 advantage to tie it up and send the game to overtime.
Knuble's game winner in overtime was his 16th of the season and his 1st game winning tally of the season. Braden Holtby stopped 27 of 30 shots to earn his fourth consecutive win and improve to an impressive 8-2-2.
Dennis Wideman, 2 assists
* Washington's win today moves them to within 1 point of the Eastern Conference leading Flyers (91-90). The win also moved them 5 standing points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Southeast Division lead.
* Scott Hannan was a +3 today on ice.
* Dennis Wideman led all skaters with ice time, putting up 27:27 minutes.
* Mike Green, Tom Poti, and Nicklas Backstrom were out out of today's game. Green can not return injured reserve wise until at least March 22.
In case you missed it, here is the Knuble over time winner.