Postgame Notebook, 1-1-08
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Note of the Night – In case you’re wondering how long it’s been since the Sens have surrendered six or more goals in consecutive games, the answer is: “a long time.”
It was so long ago, that Quebec was still in the league. It was so long ago that the consecutive losses dropped Ottawa’s record to 4-24-4 on the season.
We’re talking about Mar. 30 and Apr. 2, 1995 when Ottawa suffered consecutive spankings of 7-0 and 7-5 to Buffalo and Quebec, respectively. Those two setbacks came just days after an 11-4 humbling at the hands of the Nordiques.
You don’t have to go back nearly as far to find the last time the Capitals scored six or more goals in consecutive games, and in fact, the Sens played a hand in that sequence, too. Just over a year ago – on Dec. 2 and Dec. 6, 2006, the Caps forged consecutive home ice wins of 7-4 and 6-2 over Buffalo and Ottawa, respectively.
Double Digits for D – With his two goals in Tuesday’s win over Ottawa, Mike Green now has 10 on the season, tying him with Montreal’s Andrei Markov for the lead among all NHL defensemen. Green becomes the first Washington defenseman to reach double-digits in goals since Sergei Gonchar netted 18 in 2002-03.
With Green’s two goals on Tuesday, Washington defensemen have now netted 22 goals in 40 games this season, one more than they managed in the entire 82-game regular season slate in 2006-07.
Green also added an assist on Tuesday, as did Caps defenseman Jeff Schultz. Washington blueliners have accounted for 71 points this season. The Caps defense corps is on pace to collect 146 points this season, which would be the most amassed by a group of Washington defensemen since the 2000-01 bunch totaled 147.
Climbing the Ladder – Olie Kolzig’s win in the Washington nets on Tuesday was the 289th of his NHL career. That victory ties him with legendary New York Rangers netminder and Hockey Hall of Famer Eddie Giacomin for 25th place on the league’s all-time wins ledger.
Hat tip to Tim Leone of the Harrisburg Patriot-News for this obscure note: Sens rookie Nick Foligno is married to Giacomin’s niece.
Taking the Season Series – The Senators have lost just 10 games in regulation this season, and three of those losses have come at the hands of the Caps. This season marks the first time since 1999-00 when Washington took three of the four games between the two teams.
The two teams close out their season series here at Verizon Center two weeks from today on Jan. 15. In that game, the Caps will be seeking their first sweep of the season series with Ottawa since 1995-96 when they took all four games between the two clubs.
Drought Over – Viktor Kozlov’s first period goal was his first in 24 games, ending the longest goal scoring drought of his NHL career. Kozlov’s previous goal came on Nov. 8 against the Sens in Ottawa. His goal here Tuesday was his first on Verizon Center ice as a member of the Capitals.
Drought Over, Part Deux – When Green netted his second goal of the game at the 52-second mark of the second period, it also marked the first time this season the Caps have netted a goal with the two-man advantage. Washington had gone 0-for-10 in a total of 9:08 with two extra men on the ice this season before Green’s goal.
Prior to Green’s marker, Chris Clark had scored Washington’s previous 5-on-3 goal last Mar. 30 against Florida. The Caps went 44 games between goals with the two-man advantage.
Two Four-on-Fours – Coming into Tuesday’s NHL action, St. Louis and Anaheim were tied for the league lead with five 4-on-4 goals each. Washington potted a pair of 4-on-4 tallies in the first period of Tuesday’s game with the Sens, giving the Caps a league-leading six 4-on-4 goals for the season.
Biting the Hand – Caps center Brooks Laich was originally an Ottawa draftee (sixth round, 193rd overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Acquired from the Sens in the Feb. 2004 deal that sent Peter Bondra to Ottawa. Laich had a goal and an assist, was a plus-2 and won eight of nine face-offs against his former team. Laich made his NHL debut with the Sens on Feb. 3, 2004, the only NHL game he has played outside a Caps uniform.
Injuries – The Caps played a good bit of the game without defenseman Tom Poti and left wing Alexander Semin. After the game, the team announced that Poti was day-to-day with an upper body injury and Semin is day-to-day with a tailbone injury.
Streaking – Alex Ovechkin extended his scoring streak to seven straight games (seven goals, five assists).
As for the Caps themselves, they’ve collected at least a point in five straight games (3-0-2) and 11 of their last 14 (8-3-3). Washington has climbed to within six points of Carolina for the lead in the Southeast Division (the Caps also have a game in hand on the Canes) and Washington is within five points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Happy New Year – Today’s win was Washington’s first on New Year’s Day since a 3-2 win over the Islanders on Jan. 1, 2002. The Caps are now 13-5-3-1 all-time on the first day of the calendar year.
That’s What it’s All About, Alfie – Washington managed to keep noted Caps killer Daniel Alfredsson from lighting the lamp on Tuesday, ending a streak of four straight games with a goal against the Caps. Alfredsson did collect an assist in Tuesday’s game, giving him 29 goals and 50 points in his 42 career contests against the Capitals.
Ex-Caps Night – It was ex-Caps night at Verizøn Center on Tuesday. Besides Bryan Murray (Senators GM), John Paddock (Sens head coach) and Ron Low (Ottawa assistant coach) in town with the visiting team, usual suspects Craig Laughlin and Joe Reekie of Comcast SportsNet were in the house. The surprise ex-Cap upstairs was Peter Bondra, who announced his retirement from the NHL just two months ago. Bondra, who also played briefly for the Senators, is now general manager Slovakian National Team.