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Win One Easy, Win One Hard, Result, 7-Game Winning Streak

By Rodger M. WoodM hendricksRiding the “karma” of a hot rookie goaltender and the hard work of a rejuvenated team, the Caps are finding different ways to win hockey games again.Showing a lot of offense at home Wednesday, they beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-0.Resorting back to tough defense and playing clutch catch up hockey with two goals in the third period Friday at the Verizon Center, they beat a Carolina Hurricanes team determined to make the last playoff position in the Eastern Conference, 2-1 and went on a seven game winning streak, their longest of the season.The Caps Big Red Machine worked on all cylinders against the Oilers. Returning to the ice after a 22 – game shoulder injury, both Eric Fehr and Ovie scored power play goals. Then at even strength in the second period, they scored another goal each to put the Caps ahead 4-0.Continuing a 3 – game goal scoring streak in the third period, Alexander Semin put the game out of reach at 5-0.Holtby got his first NHL shutout, and extended his shutout streak to 5 periods or 100 minutes.Matt Hendricks’ gritty play, Ovie clutch goal and Holtby’s goaltending were the story line in the Carolina game.Blocking a shot on a penalty kill, then skating hard up the ice in time to put Jason Arnott’s rebound behind hot Canes goalie, Cam Ward, Hendricks made the Caps winner at 7:24 of the third period.Ovie had tied the game up 47 seconds into the third period with his 28th goal of the season, after Tuomo Ruutu’s slap shot snuck through traffic at 19:24 of the second period, putting the Canes ahead 1-0 and ending Holtby’s shutout streak at 144 minutes, twenty – four seconds. In his past six NHL games, the 21 year old stopped 170 of 174 shots (97.70% of shots faced).Making the power play alive again, while playing good defense, passing the puck out of danger, and logging the team high 22:13 ice time, defensemen Dennis Widemann was the Caps unsung hero both games.Solid on defense, clearing the front of the net from attackers, jumping up on offense, and logging 19:35 time against the Canes, defenseman, Scott Hannan is also making a big impact.The Caps will be challenged next by defending last year’s Stanley Cup winners, Chicago Black Hawks 12:30 PM Sunday at the Verizon Center.

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