Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Senators Squeek By

Washington Dominates 2nd and 3rd Periods, But Cannot Overcome 2-0 Hole
Ottawa Senators 3, Washington Capitals 2
Boxcore

There's not much you can do about a game such as this. Washington had every opportunity to tie the contest late in the third period, but the bounces didn't go their way and Ottawa survived to win their 13th out of their last 16 games.

Speaking of bounces, they definitely went Ottawa's way in the first period where, despite a defensively sound effort, the Senators found a way to get two goals past the frustrated Olie Kolzig. The first came on a shot from the point by captain Daniel Alfredsson that got through the traffic in front and into the back of the net. Kolzig was visibly upset over what seemed to be his own defenseman, Shaone Morrisonn, screening him on the play. Their second goal was another case of being in the right place at the right time as a Peter Schaefer shot deflected off the diving Mike Green directly to Jason Spezza who tapped the puck into the empty net for his 20th goal on the year.

The Capitals regrouped and controlled the action over the last forty minutes. They were able to kill off a 2 man disadvantage and should have had a short handed goal as the first penalty expired to Kris Beech. He was sent off on a breakaway following a Boyd Gordon blocked shot. But again the bounces didn't go the Caps way as the puck would not settle down for Beech and he was not able to get off a shot.

Alex Ovechkin was finally able to get Washington on the scoreboard nine minutes into the second period, as he followed up his original shot, which was blocked by defenseman Anton Volchenkov, and rifled the loose puck past Gerber, beating him to the seven hole (between the glove and pad). The goal brought a lot of accolades along with it. First, it extended Ovechkin's point streak to twelve games which is a new career high. Second, it extended his goal scoring streak to three games. And lastly, it put him back into the NHL lead in goals with his 32nd on the season.

However, a Lawrence Nycholat penalty just one minute later would hurt the Capitals as Danny Heatley would capitalize and knock home his 31st of the season to give the Senators a 3-1 advantage. Despite their excellent play in the period, the Caps would head to the locker room still trailing by two.

The third period saw the momentum swing even more into Washington's favor. A nice individual effort by Kris Beech on the forecheck, taking the puck away from Ottawa's star defender Wade Redden. Once he gained control he moved behind the Senators goal and found Donald Brashear wide open in front of the net for an easy finish and his 2nd goal on the year, cutting the deficit to 3-2. That would be as close as they would get as despite numerous quality scoring chances, including several with Kolzig pulled in the last minute, the Caps could not get another past Senators goalie Martin Gerber would ended the night with 35 saves in the win. Kolzig was equally as stellar in net for the Capitals stopping 35 as well.

The loss denied Washington a chance to pull back to .500. With a Lightning win, they are now seven points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

Your Top Three Stars:
1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington 1 goal
2. Martin Gerber, Ottawa 35 saves
3. Olie Kolzig, Washington 35 saves

Game Notes:

Brian Sutherby was a whopping 0 for 5 in faceoff opportunities. It's no wonder why Gordon has taken his spot as the top checking center on the team.... Lawrence Nycholat had the hit of the night knocking Heatley on his back with an open ice shoulder check.... Richard Zednik, despite being medically cleared to play, did not dress in the game. Matt Bradley was also scratched for the third consecutive game for personal reasons.... Defenseman Jeff Schultz continues to impress playing 17:46 minutes and was +1 defensively.... Alex Ovechkin had a season high in minutes played with 26:57. He even saw a shift towards the end of a penalty kill in the second period.... Tomas Fleichmann had 3 assists and Alexandre Giroux had 2 goals last night in the AHL All-Star game.

1 comment:

Fauxrumors said...

1) Its time to come to terms that Sutherby is a complete bust. He's no longer a youngster on the way up. He seems to be going in the other direction
2) Its not like he's winning faceoffs or has a great +/-. What exactly is his worth right now? We believed before the season began that it was a make or break year for him. So far, no good!