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Capitals Win 4th Straight, Defeat Flames 3-1

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Washington Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun (29), of the Czech Republic, reaches out for the puck against Calgary Flames left wing Rene Bourque (17) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-1.
Washington Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun (29), of the Czech Republic, reaches out for the puck against Calgary Flames left wing Rene Bourque (17) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, in Washington. The Capitals won 3-1.

WASHINGTON -- Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer scored power-play goals, Nicklas Backstrom had three assists, and the Washington Capitals kept rolling in the New Year with their fourth straight win, beating the Calgary Flames 3-1 Tuesday night.

Dennis Wideman also scored, and Tomas Vokoun made 18 saves for the Capitals, who improved to 9-6-1 under coach Dale Hunter.

Curtis Glencross had the lone goal for the Flames, who have dropped four straight with one game left on a seven-game trip. Miikka Kiprusoff made 18 saves, and Jarome Iginla remained one goal shy of becoming the 42nd NHL player to score 500.

Finally finding a rhythm under their new coach, Ovechkin and the Capitals again struck early and didn't allow the opposition much room to work. Washington killed four penalties and hasn't allowed a power play in nine straight home games. Vokoun has stopped 125 of the last 131 shots he has faced, and the team is allowing only 2.25 goals per game since Hunter replaced Bruce Boudreau in late November.

The Capitals got another boost with the return of defenseman Mike Green, who had missed 23 straight games and 29 of 30 with a sprained right ankle and then a groin injury. Yet while Green was back, forward Alexander Semin was out – listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury.

The game was 36 seconds old when Rene Bourque was sent to the penalty box for a holding call behind the Capitals net. Washington took advantage, with Ovechkin blasting a one-timer from the left circle on a feed from Marcus Johansson.

The goal was Ovechkin's 17th of the season and his seventh in seven games. He also had the primary assist on Brouwer's goal in the second period to give the Russian 11 points over the seven-game span.

The Flames got on the board when no Capitals player put a body on Glencross, who skated in front of the crease to take a pass from Iginla and made it 2-1 in the second period.

Washington restored the two-goal lead late in the second. Calgary defenseman Scott Hannan was set to clear the puck, but lost his balance in a crowd of players in front of the crease. Backstrom took the puck, skated behind the net and fed Wideman for the goal.

NOTES: Calgary will finish its road trip Thursday at Boston. ... This was the only meeting between the teams this season.

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