Michal Neuvirth said he lived the waning moments of the Capitals' eventual 3-2 win over Ottawa "minute to minute" and for good reason. There couldn't have been a more tense scenario in the third period as Washington killed off three penalties in the final 13 minutes of regulation to preserve the one-goal lead.
But if there's one thing that can aid a goaltender's will it's seeing his teammates making diving plays and not hesitating to block shots so that the chances wouldn't even make it through to him. On the first kill, with Mathieu Perreault called for hooking, Washington didn't allow the Senators to get a single shot off. The second and third, a penalty on John Carlson for high-sticking and Jason Chimera for holding, respectively, yielded just one Ottawa opportunity each.
Then factor in that six of the Capitals' 14 blocked shots Sunday night came in the third period with seven minutes remaining and it's the makings of a frustrating night for Ottawa, which finished 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.
On the final penalty kill, which began at 17:15 of the third, Tom Poti blocked a pair of shots and Brooks Laich put on a one-man clinic on how to clear the puck from the zone first with a chip out, then with a dive at the blueline and another by picking off a pass in the high slot. David Steckel won five out of six faceoffs in the third as well, with the majority of those coming on the penalty kill.
"I thought Brooks Laich was fantastic," Coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked about the penalty kill. "Dave Steckel in the third period won every draw even though they only had him 8-and-6 I think. I thought he won every faceoff that he took. The guys were committed, the guys we used, [Nicklas Backstrom] and Mike Knuble, Brooks and Marcus Johansson were committed in doing the right thing and when you do that you usually have success."
Mathieu Perreault gets a star from the folks at Puck Daddy for his part in helping the Caps break the losing streak.