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More to the point, he and the Senators made it hard for the Caps to concentrate on hockey.

I think we were just getting frustrated by kind of the way that things were going for us, so that’s what you saw,” Alzner said.

Getting outshot 23-4 in the third period of an essentially meaningless game isn’t great but not cause for alarm. Losing on a point shot from ex-Washington defenseman Sergei Gonchar in overtime isn’t, either.

But Neil and the Senators planted seeds in the minds of Caps players of what next week might be like.

“Obviously we don’t really like each other; it’s not really a secret,” Volpatti said. “It would make for a good series. I don’t think it’s going to change our mindset.”