The Washington Capitals snapped an 8 game losing streak last night against the Ottawa Senators with a 3-2 win. The win was the result of a disastrous second period for Ottawa, where Washington scored 3 times, Ottawa took two penalties in short order and the defense fell apart. What should have been a hungry match up between two teams badly needing a win quickly turned into an undisciplined, messy game with plenty of penalties and lots of questionable non-calls.
The first period was Ottawa’s best, as they kept the Caps in tight check and scored twice with the grinder line of Ruutu-Kelly-Neil putting in another great effort. This is still Ottawa’s top and most consistent line, adapting well to each game and leading the charge on net when other lines look too slow or timid to follow through. Ryan Shannon has also been racking up valuable ice time and he put in Ottawa’s first goal of the night.
The second period disaster was a defensive meltdown. The Capitals, known as one of the NHL’s top offensive teams, is not known to defend well, which made it all the more bewildering that it was Ottawa and not Washington who fell apart. Perrault’s first goal in the second was a result of Gonchar getting pinched at the blue line and leaving Perrault completely open on the side when it should have been up to Kovalev to pick him off. Fehr’s goal soon after came as a result of Phillips losing him.
Ottawa’s coverage of the net was so poor in the second that it wouldn’t have mattered if Elliott was a secret ninja in net. As it was, he played a good game for Ottawa and gave them a chance at a comeback by keeping them within one goal. The third period was Ottawa’s chance to get that one goal and they didn’t get it. Instead, the third was the messiest period, with bodies and sticks flying all over the ice, one bad undisciplined penalty after the other, and a very original defensive strategy displayed by Jason Chimera as he decided to slow Gonchar down by grabbing his face.
The bad non-calls for Ottawa included a few trips where the fans made it known that they had noticed by showering the refs with boos. The worst offense was the non-call on Elliott as he was decked in front late in the second period. With the league knuckling down on goaltender interference calls and slapping players for crease-sitting, it’s baffling to see that kind of oversight.
For Washington, this was an important morale-boosting win. Mathieu Perrault had a surprise standout night with 2 goals, while Laich and Fehr proved that they’re the true soldiers of this team, making plays happen and capitalizing off Ottawa’s errors. They also showed how tough they are, as Laich took one in the ribs area and stayed in the game and Erskine was taken down roughly in the second, but still came back for a fight with Michalek.
The bad news for HBO is that they won’t likely get another entertaining speech out of Boudreau. He may be nice for a change, but who would pay to see that?
The bad news for Ottawa? They’re in danger of losing the great momentum that they had after they rallied in that blowout game against the Avalanche. The big defensive gaps in their game was their undoing against Washington and they need to improve their two way game with a lot of responsible play if they want to get anywhere this season. This whole team needs to calm down and play smarter, because it’s their mistakes and not their lack of offense lately which is burying them.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.