Fresh off their shellacking of New Jersey on Saturday, the Caps were looking to extend their success last night against Ottawa. The Senators were looking for some redemption after being pasted by Toronto and in search of their first point on the season. A point they got, but the Senators left the Verizon Center winless, thanks to the overtime heroics of one Alex Ovechkin.
With a great fake, Ovechkin slammed a low shot home past Pascal Leclaire with only 31 seconds remaining in overtime, giving the Caps their second win in a row and on the season. The goal capped a high intensity game that by rights, Ottawa could’ve won.
“Only Alex can play like he did and still score the overtime goal and be the hero,” said Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. “That’s what superstars do. That’s why he’s out there in the last minute – because he can win you a game at any chance.”
Both teams were erratic in play through the game, though Ottawa seemed to be a bit more gelled as a team. They kept the Caps offense tamed for long stretches and challenged goalie Michal Neuvirth for 31 shots. Neuvirth was rough in the first period, letting some ugly rebounds get away from him, but as the game progressed, he seemed to settle in and got progressively better. He had a few great stops in the third period and helped the Caps penalty kill shut down all five Ottawa attempts. The Caps have now killed all 13 chances against them in the season so far. “I was hoping the (penalty kill) would do well,” said Boudreau. “The power play will get better. If you look at our trends over the past three years, for whatever reason in October it hasn’t been solid and then it starts getting better in November and it gets better once we have familiarity.”
Alexander Semin started the scoring at 18:38 in the first period with a wrist shot that rifled past Leclaire. The shot was the result of a great pass play from Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr. Fehr would go on to score the Caps second tally of the night, less than two minutes after Jarkko Ruutu’s tip in around the halfway point of the second period. Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon tied it up with a mid-circle snap shot at 7:20 of the third. Then came overtime.
“I was kind of getting ready for a shootout,” said Neuvirth about the waning minutes of the extra period. “But when [Ovechkin] scored, I was maybe the happiest guy in the building. That was a huge goal for us and a huge win.”
The Caps finish their three-game homestand against the New York Islanders on Wednesday at 7 pm.