OTTAWA – A few days off, a Senators team with nothing to lose and a hot opposing goalie – it all added up to a 2-0 Capitals loss in the other nation’s capital on Friday night.
One goal was certainly questionable and required a long video review – Colin Greening was at least in Semyon Varlamov’s face and may have kicked the puck in. And the other came as a result of a turnover. On the other end, the Caps had spurts where they were buzzing, but it didn’t last long.
“That was the game plan was to get it deep and be physical on their D and hopefully you’d wear ‘em down,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “But I didn’t think we did too much of wearing down.”
Some spurts did happen, but Craig Anderson (31 saves) was there to get the job done for Ottawa and hand the Caps their 10th shutout of the season. Boudreau and players admitted, however, that the chances they got weren’t good enough.
“I think we didn’t get into our game until halfway through the second period or something like that,” Marcus Johansson said. “They made it hard for us, and we didn’t get much chances, but it’s something we gotta work on.”
The Senators were able to play with some healthy reckless abandon, skating with nothing to lose in front of a Scotiabank crowd just wanting to see glimpses of a bright future. And while Greening and Erik Condra (the second goal-scorer) aren’t expected to turn into Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Cory Clouston’s team showed life against the Caps, who didn’t lose any ground in the Southeast thanks to Tampa Bay’s loss.
What they did do Friday night was lose a chance to pick up two important points on the Flyers in the race for the top seed. Three or four points on this Canadian back-to-back coupled with a Philadelphia loss at the Islanders Friday would have put Washington atop the Eastern Conference.
“We take it with a grain of salt,” said Matt Hendricks, who was on the wrong end of a high-sticking non-call in the first. “It was a tough defeat, we really looked forward to coming in here and winning, but it’s the game of hockey and we need to collect ourselves and get ready.”