The Washington Times - November 24, 2009, 12:04AM

All of the caveats from two nights ago remain — the Caps are still banged up (seven skaters missing) and the schedule is still working against them (four games in six nights). That said, the Caps looked great for 40 minutes tonight, which is probably why the final 20 minutes of regulation and overtime stung so much.

Ottawa outshot Washington 18-3 in the final period to erase a two-goal deficit and 4-0 in 84 seconds of overtime that could best be described as terrible at best for the guys in front of Semyon Varlamov.

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Bruce Boudreau’s post-game press conference lasted exactly three seconds longer than the overtime (mostly because I think I was the only non-camera toting media member there and asked all the questions) — and he said all he needed to say in short order.

“We’re not giving any other reasons other than Ottawa came and outworked us in the third period,” Boudreau said. “They wanted it more. We take three dumb penalties, and they get the momentum and they get the crowd into it, and we leave our poor goalie out to dry.”

And …

“This was a collapse by 20 guys, and I don’t know how else to sugarcoat it,” Boudreau said. “We had total control of the game after two [periods]. They didn’t even want to be part of the game — it looked like they wanted to go home. Something lit a fire under them and we couldn’t match it.”

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Here are a few other quick notes before I head back to my hotel and hope my early AM flight isn’t cancelled because of the fog here in Ottawa (seriously — fog? Unreal):

* The Caps took three penalties in the third period after not taking any in the first 40 minutes. The one on Alex Ovechkin was a terrible call. The other two were warranted. Nothing stirs a rally like potentially six minutes of 5-on-4 time.

* Thought Mike Green was having a nice game through two periods, save for one bad turnover. But his night, like many of teammates, went south in a hurry. His shift in overtime was something to be forgotten.

* David Steckel owned up after the game and blamed himself for the PPG goal in the third. He tried to hit Brooks Laich for a shorthanded breakaway, but the pass was intercepted and about 10 seconds later the Senators. The Steckel-Beagle-Gordon trio wasn’t on the ice for more than six minutes together, but there was a lot happening (one goal for, two against).

* Jay Beagle did score his first NHL goal, and for a guy like that who has had to work his tail off just to get here, it is good to see him rewarded.

* Semyon Varlamov played about as well as you can and still give up four goals. Three were deflected and one was through a multi-person screen. He still stopped 33 shots, including three great saves in the first minute of overtime, which somehow turned into a jailbreak on multiple occasions.

Here’s a couple of stats to leave you with tonight as the groundscrew here at ScotiaBank Place is readying the arena floor for Star Wars: The Music for tomorrow night.

* The Caps have yielded a lead in TEN of the 23 games so far this season. That’s crazy.

* The Caps have yielded a power-play goal that has tied the game or been the go-ahead goal in the third period or overtime EIGHT times this season. Also crazy.

* The Caps have won 54.2 percent of their games. That’s not enough for a team expected to contend for the Stanley Cup. Just isn’t.

The Caps will be back at Kettler tomorrow for a late morning/early afternoon/time TBD practice.