Postgame Notebook: Capitals 3, Senators 2, OT
Eight Gets One Late –
Monday night’s game against the Senators won’t be remembered as one of the best performances of Alex Ovechkin
’s career. The dynamic left wing struggled in all situations all night against the Senators, but he redeemed himself in the game’s 65th minute.
With just over a half minute remaining in overtime, Ovechkin threw a shot on goal on rush from the right circle, and the puck slithered through Ottawa goaltender Pascal Leclaire to give the Capitals a 3-2 overtime win over the Sens.
Leclaire was the victim of Ovechkin’s first two NHL goals just over five years ago, and he’s now the victim of his most recent one as well.
“Only Alex can play like he did and score the overtime goal and be the hero,” says Boudreau. “Go ask him how he played. He’ll tell you, ‘Not so good.’ But he got the overtime goal and that’s what superstars do. That’s why he’s out in the last minute, because he’s got the ability to win you a game at any chance.
“It’s just like Alex Semin. Whether they’re playing good or bad, you put them out there when you need a goal because they’ve got the potential to get it.”
At the other end of the ice, 22-year-old Caps goaltender Michal Neuvirth
turned in a third straight solid performance in earning his second win of the season.
“Really good,” states Boudreau when asked about Neuvirth. “He keeps getting better every game. That’s a good sign for a young goaltender.”
Fab Four (Five) –
Washington had 11 homegrown first-round draft picks in its lineup for Monday’s game. Four of them – Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom
, Mike Green
and John Carlson
– were on the ice for the game-winner. A fifth, Jeff Schultz
, earned the secondary assist on the game-winner before peeling off to the bench.
Sens Slayer –
Semin scored the game’s first goal, cashing in a sublime feed from Brooks Laich
. Semin is a noted Senator slayer; he now has a dozen goals and 21 points in just 16 career contests against Ottawa.
Late Scratch –
Reading the tea leaves of this morning’s skate, it seemed evident that one of Washington’s top six defensemen might not be able to go tonight. That hunch proved to be true, as Tom Poti
was a late scratch with an undisclosed (and later, disclosed as a lower body injury) ailment.
Boudreau was typically cagey when asked about the lineup two hours before game time. Queried as to whether the Caps would ice the same lineup as they did for Saturday’s 7-2 shellacking of the New Jersey Devils, Boudreau was noncommittal.
“Pretty close,” he answered.
“What’s different?” came the follow-up.
“I don’t know yet. Might be the same. Supposed to be the same.”
“Neuvy’s in goal?”
“Is somebody banged up? Is there going to be something different, maybe in the back?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think anything’s different. Nice try, though.”
All seven Caps defensemen took the ice for warm-ups. Poti partipated in the line rushes, while Tyler Sloan
did not. Yet when it came time to hand in the lineup card, Poti’s name was not on it while Sloan’s was.
Caps right wing Matt Bradley
left the game after skating three shifts totaling 3:23.
Boudreau was asked about Poti and Bradley after the game.
“They both tweaked lower body parts,” says the Caps coach.
Green Blueline –
Poti’s absence from the lineup left the Caps with six defensemen who brought a combined 1,036 games worth of NHL experience into tonight’s game. Ex-Cap and current Sens defenseman Sergei Gonchar is just under that number all by himself (993).
“It’s unfortunate, but that’s going to happen,” says Green. “Injuries are going to come and go. We have guys who can jump in and play and that’s what it’s going to take to win games.”
52 Pick-Up –
Last season, Poti ranked 10th among NHL defensemen in shorthanded ice time per game with 3:36 per night. Washington took five minor penalties in Monday night’s game against Ottawa, successfully killing them all.
absorbed most of Poti’s penalty killing workload, skating a whopping 5:42 of the 10 minutes in which Washington was down a man.
Last season, Green was fifth among Washington defensemen with an average of 2:09 per game in shorthanded ice time. Through the first three games of this season, he is tops on that list at 3:53 per night.
“I’m willing to do that. I was fortunate; I played a very patient game tonight. I wasn’t up the ice a whole lot because of the penalties and I had a lot of energy at the end of the game.”
Green skated a total of 31:53 on the night, the second highest ice time total of any skater in any game this season. Chicago’s Duncan Keith logged 33:39 against the Avalanche in an overtime game on opening night.
“It didn’t feel like 30 minutes,” says Green, “but I guess it was at the end of the night.”
“I think he played 30 minutes or so or more,” says Boudreau. “He might not be getting the points but he sure is playing well, him and Jeff on the point right now.”
By The Numbers –
Gonchar led the Sens with 29:42 in ice time … The Caps were 22-for-54 (41%) in the face-off circle. Only Backstrom &-for-13, 54%) won more than half of his draws for the Caps tonight … John Erskine
led the Caps with three hits … Matt Hendricks
paced the Caps with four blocked shots and he also picked up his first point in a Washington sweater, a primary helper on Eric Fehr
’s second-period goal … Fehr had a typically economical night, firing four shots on goal and collecting a goal and an assist in just 13:26 of work on a night in which the Caps played an overtime game and were down to 11 forwards for more than two periods … Matt Carkner led the Sens with four hits and Chris Phillips paced Ottawa with three blocked shots … Sens center Jason Spezza was neutralized offensively by the tandem of Green and Schultz, but he won 14 of 20 (70%) face-offs on the night.
|Three star selections