Capitals push back in OT thriller

Capitals push back in OT thriller
March 5, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Caps-Bruins highlights 3/5

It is one thing to say all the right things when your team is down by three goals after one period.

It is quite another to actually execute those things.

Trailing the Boston Bruins 3-0 after 20 minutes, the Capitals talked about chipping away at the deficit one goal at a time and they did just that, getting consecutive goals from Mike Ribeiro, Tomas Kundratek, Wojtek Wolski and Eric Fehr to emerge with an amazing 4-3 overtime victory at a rocking VerizonCenter.

“We didn’t give up at all today,” Fehr said after his goal and two assists gave him his second three-point game of his career.

“I think it says a lot about our character. This team believes in ourselves a lot more than we did at the beginning of the season.”

The Caps have now won seven of their last 10 games after starting the season 2-8-1. The win pushed them to within five points of the eighth-place Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings.

“It’s huge,” said Wolski, who scored his first goal in 12 games to send the game into overtime. “We need every single game right now. We’ve got to keep closing the gap. We can’t wait any longer.”

Oates said he tried to convince his players that even though they were down 3-0 they were not “leaking oil,” like they were in Philadelphia a week ago in one of their worst losses of the season.

“I told them that if we’re going to back in this it’s going to take 40 minutes,” Oates said.

Actually, it took 40 minutes, 37 seconds.

The Capitals’ comeback started 5:46 into the second period when Ribeiro rooted himself  on the left side of Tuukka Rask. Alex Ovechkin batted down a shot by rookie defenseman Steve Oleksy and found Ribeiro for his eighth goal of the season. It was also Oleksy's first NHL point in his first NHL game.

The Caps drew within 3-2 at the 11:32 mark, this time on Kundraek's first career NHL goal. Nicklas Backstrom won a faceoff back to Fehr, who set up Kundratek's shot from the top of the right circle that eluded Rask. Kundratek responded with his Czech version of an Irish jig.

 “I definitely celebrated like it was a winning goal in the playoffs,” Kundratek said. “It was my first one and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

Wolksi, who was in the Washington lineup only because Troy Brouwer fell ill before the game, sent the game into overtime when he slipped behind a Boston defenseman, took a lead pass from Fehr and whacked a backhander through Rask for his first goal since Feb. 1.

That set the stage for Fehr’s game-winner, an incredible highlight reel goal in which he split defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Dougie Hamilton and, on his way to the ice, somehow lifted a shot over Rask.

Fehr, who said his goal was his prettiest since his junior hockey days, was mobbed by his teammates after the goal, which completed his first three-point game since March 3, 2008 when he picked up three assists in a 10-2 Capitals win over the Bruins.

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