Anderson Post Game:
Coach MacLean Post Game:
Anderson, Senators blank Ovechkin-less Capitals
Adam Vingan – NHL.com Correspondent
Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza each scored, and Craig Anderson made 34 saves for his third shutout this season and the 25th of his career as the Senators beat the Capitals 2-0 on Tuesday at Verizon Center.
“I thought our team game was very solid throughout,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said. “I thought we played a really good 60 minutes in the game. I thought the momentum swings we handled well or dictated a little bit of it. Obviously, our penalty-killers did a very good job, and our goaltender made saves when we needed it.”
The absence of Ovechkin, who leads the NHL with 35 goals, was noticeable as Washington’s offense, which has scored seven goals in its past six games, continued to sputter.
Washington’s winless streak reached six games (0-4-2), and the loss combined with the New Jersey Devils’ 7-1 victory against the St. Louis Blues dropped the Capitals into sixth place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals have lost four straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 25-Dec. 1, 2011.
“If you’re not winning, there’s a reason you’re not winning,” Capitals forward Brooks Laich said. “When you win, it’s because you deserve to win, generally. And if you’re not winning, do something extra. Honestly, we’re tired of talking about it. Well done is better than well said. If you want to talk about it, go show it on the ice. Guys have tried it.
“The locker room, nobody’s yelling and screaming in here. We have to prove it to our teammates, prove it to yourself, the organization. We have to be better as players.”
The game opened with a scoreless first period in which the Capitals outshot the Senators 10-6 and generated the better scoring opportunities. Washington’s best chance came in the final minute when John Carlson outraced Patrick Wiercioch off a pass from Troy Brouwer and forced Anderson to make a save from in tight.
“It’s one of [those] things where you have a period and you can kind of put it behind you and make sure you start the next period and pretend it’s 0-0 and make the next save,” Anderson said. “You kind of break it down into smaller games within the game to keep yourself focused and not get too caught up in the score.”
Each team failed to score on power plays in the opening period; the Senators were outshot 2-0 during their early opportunity, and the Capitals struggled to set up theirs.
Ottawa then killed off the remainder of Eric Gryba‘s late interference penalty at the start of the second period, when the game took on a considerably quicker pace as both teams traded chances.
The Senators broke the scoreless stalemate at 12:59. Turris received a breakout pass from Clarke MacArthur in the defensive zone and blew past Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who was pinching along the left-wing boards. Turris took care of it from there; he rushed up the ice and into the offensive zone, used defenseman Connor Carrick as a screen and snapped the puck through Braden Holtby‘s legs for his 15th goal of the season.
“We had lots of chances, and we did a pretty good job of eliminating theirs,” Turris said. “They had a couple late in the game, but [Anderson] played well. We capitalized on a couple of ours and could have capitalized on a couple more.”
Washington entered the third period with 23 seconds remaining on a power play, which essentially became a four-minute man advantage when Senators defenseman Jared Cowen slashed Marcus Johansson 20 seconds into the period. The Capitals, however, failed to take advantage, finishing the game 0-for-4 on the power play; they are now 1-for-21 in their past seven games.
Bobby Ryan had a prime chance to extend the Senators’ lead to 2-0 early in the third period when he fooled Holtby on a backhand-forehand deke in tight, but he lost control of the puck.
Spezza, however, did not miss his shot at 8:56. With plenty of space to operate, the Senators captain ripped his 13th goal of the season past Holtby on the power play from the top of the left circle.
“It’s a building where they are notorious for coming back and getting momentum,” Spezza said of Verizon Center. “So to get the two-goal lead lets us play a little different style and with a little more confidence. I thought we played better with the lead tonight in general.”
The Senators’ four-game road trip continues Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Capitals will begin a five-game road trip Friday against the Devils at Prudential Center.