Okay Caps fans, you may now exhale.
Thanks to Mathieu Perreault and a herculean second period effort, the Caps finally killed the streak monkey on their backs, defeating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 yesterday at Scotiabank Place.
Perreault opened and closed the Caps’ second period surge, scoring 34 seconds into the second frame. Eric Fehr backhanded the puck in less than a minute later, putting the Caps back into the game. They were down 2-0 coming into the period. Perreault then wristed in the game winner five minutes later.
The team survived a last-minute flurry by the Senators and then, as the game ended, they mobbed the ice and goalie Michal Neuvirth, who managed to knock away 24 shots on the night. “We felt like we won a championship,” said Perreault. “We needed that win so much for our confidence and just for the team. That was a huge win for us.” The two-goal effort was Perreault’s second multi-goal game since his recall from Hershey.
The Caps not only knocked out the streak that has netted only 11 goals in their 0-6-2 stretch, but also reclaimed the lead in the Southeast Division from Atlanta. The Thrashers used the Caps’ misfiring to gain ground and slipped ahead after the Caps lost to Boston on Saturday. The division race, once thought to be a runaway Caps win, is now neck-and-neck, with the Caps, Thrashers, and Lightning all one point from each other.
The streak’s end probably came at the best time possible. The Caps face a tanking New Jersey team tomorrow and then the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday for a quick home stand before the holidays.