NHL Game Summary - Calgary at Washington
(Sunday, March 28th)
Final Score: Calgary 5, Washington 3
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Rene Bourque had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames used a big first period to take a 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.
Despite the loss, though, the Capitals clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference on Sunday thanks to New Jersey's 5-1 loss to Philadelphia later in the day.
Ian White had a goal and an assist while Jay Bouwmeester, Niklas Hagman and Ales Kotalik each lit the lamp for the Flames, who had lost three of four coming in. Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 stops in the win.
The win gives Calgary 85 points, four back of Colorado for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"It was a solid game from the entire team," said Bourque. "We came out with a big effort and we played the way we're supposed to. We have to keep up this intensity for the rest of the year."
Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist while David Steckel and Mathieu Perreault each scored for the Capitals, who have dropped two straight. Jose Theodore was pulled in the first period after giving up three goals on 10 shots, and Semyon Varlamov made 10 stops the rest of the way.
"We didn't have any energy to start the game and their sense of urgency was greater than ours," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "We knew they were gonna come out hard and they made the entire team look like we were struggling. We just weren't able to come back from the bad start."
It was all Calgary in the first period, when the Flames scored four times to take command.
The first goal came 2:33 into the contest, when a bad-angle shot at the left side by Kotalik caromed off Theodore into the net.
About six minutes later on the power play, the Flames struck again, as White's sharp-angle shot at the left side off of a rebound went past Theodore.
Just over two minutes later, Bourque skated into the Washington end down the right wing and stopped near the mid-boards. From there, he threw a pass out front and Bouwmeester redirected it in. Theodore was pulled from the net after the goal.
In the closing moments of the period, Hagman snapped a backhander into the net through a screen for his 23rd goal of the season.
Ovechkin got Washington on the board 3:49 into the second on the power play, as his wrister from the right circle hit Kiprusoff before going in.
The Flames got the goal back with 2:26 to play, as Bourque skated into the zone down the left wing, cut to the front and threw a spin-around backhander on net that hit Varlamov, but it popped into the air and went in.
The Caps made it a three-goal game just 1:17 later, when Quintin Laing sent a pass from behind the right side of the net to the front and Steckel jammed it home.
Washington got within 5-3 only 4:48 into the third, after Ovechkin's slap shot from the left point went wide. The puck hit the backboards and came out front, where Perreault tapped it in for a power-play goal.
The Capitals pulled Varlamov with over two minutes to play, but were unable to get any closer.
Ovechkin's assist was his 100th point of the season. He trails Vancouver's Henrik Sedin by one point for the NHL lead...Washington hosts Ottawa on Tuesday...Calgary, which went 1-2-0 on its three-game road trip, returns home to face Phoenix on Wednesday...Calgary has won the past two games with Washington...The goal was just the third of the season for Bouwmeester and the first time he had scored since November 14 against Toronto.
03/28 23:02:29 ET