Senators-Capitals recap

Another losing streak broken against the Senators, only this one was much less extreme than the 8-game one in December. I’ve come to terms that a team playing a full-60 minute game just doesn’t happen as often as I would like to so I’ll stay away from the complaints on that. After sleepwalking for most of the first 40 minutes, Washington exploded in the 3rd period with three goals to take the win over Ottawa and head into Philly on a winning note. They were playing from behind for most of the game, which has been a problem all season but it doesn’t hurt you as much when you’re up against a team with a weak offense like Ottawa. Against better teams it will, though and it has plenty of times this season. We were bailed out by good goaltending and bad penalties on the part of Ottawa .

Thoughts/Observations:

– I’m surprised CSN didn’t try to put their commentators “between the benches” earlier since that’s what a lot of other networks are doing. The broadcast didn’t feel that different other than Laughlin getting a closer view on the action, which he probably needed. It may have been just a gimmick for the day game, though.

– How nice was it to see the powerplay convert today and at a critical point in the game, nonetheless?  It only took a few seconds into the powerplay for Carlson to make it a 2-1 game and that’s definitely something good to build on. The PP itself didn’t look that bad either. Lots of good chances generated.

– Speaking of penalties, I’m surprised Milan Michalek didn’t get more than 2 minutes for his boarding penalty on Karl Alzner. He pushed him right into the boards from behind and Alzner is lucky that he wasn’t seriously hurt on that play. Apparently he is alright but I remember him leaving the game and I’m not 100% sure if he returned or not. If there’s one player we can’t lose right now, it’s him. Especially after how poor Mike Green played today.

– Great game in net from Michal Neuvirth. He bailed the defense out numerous times and was the main reason why it was only 1-0 for awhile. Also had a wonderful stop on Fillip Kuba which you will probably see on the highlights later tonight. Brian Elliott also had a great game for Ottawa. He was sharp all day aside from the Chimera goal, which bounced off his shoulder and into the net.

– Glad that Brooks Laich was able to break his goal-less drought today. That strike off Phillips’ turnover was his first goal since mid-December. There’s one top-6 guy who broke his skid. Now we just have to wait for the two others to follow suit.

– Marcus Johansson continues to impress me. He earned himself 22 minutes of ice time and was great at creating offense. I think he was one of the few players who was actually forechecking well for Washington today. He even played on Ovechkin’s line for a little bit and the two worked pretty well. I’m not sure whether or not I want him to play as a winger because we need a center more but it’s good that he’s finally making an impact after a slow start.

– Washington wasn’t paying well for the first 40 something minutes of this game in terms of forechecking. They kept losing momentum while entering the zone and Ottawa’s defense didn’t have to do much to stop them from getting got the net. Speaking of which, I don’t think the Caps even tried to get to the net early in the game at all. That’s another problem that’s been lingering all year. Thankfully, they changed that in the 3rd and Johansson and Ovechkin’s strong forecheck is what led to Phillips’ turnover and Laich’s goal.

The game against Philly should give us a good judgment of how well this team can play against tough opponents. Hopefully it goes better than the last two Tampa games.

Three Stars:
1. John Carlson

2. Mike Fischer

3. Michal Neuvirth

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