The Senators continued to dictate the pace of the contest and hem Washington in its own zone for much of the next 10 minutes. The only relief came when Erik Condra ran over Holtby and received a minor penalty for goaltender interference, giving the Capitals an opportunity to realize there was another end of the sheet of ice.
Despite being thoroughly outplayed for the first half of the game, the Capitals tied the contest at 1 at the 11:14 mark of the second. Jack Hillen’s shot from the point deflected toward Erat as he made his way into the left circle. Erat smacked the bouncing puck toward the net, where Ribeiro was able to bat it past Craig Anderson’s glove.
As the Capitals likely head into the playoffs, the Post Sports Live crew debates whether the Capitals are one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.
Insight on the Capitals and all the latest news from Post reporter Katie Carrera.
An uncharacteristic puck-handling blunder by Holtby would quickly erase any potential momentum the Capitals had established. Holtby went behind the net to retrieve the puck but didn’t look as he sent a pass out toward the right boards intended for Alzner. The pass was too far for the defenseman to reach and instead went to Cory Conacher, who fired into the empty net before Holtby could regain his positioning for a 2-1 Senators lead.
“It’s just one of those rushed plays. Had to make a blind pass and I didn’t execute it on the tape,” said Holtby, who stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced. “That’s one of those that you want back, but you can’t let it dwell on you. It happens. They had a hard forecheck all game and they caused that turnover.”
Oates said Holtby’s miscue was a prime example of how nothing went as intended for the Capitals against Ottawa Thursday night.
“That’s indicative of our game tonight,” Oates said. “That’s a simple play for him. That’s a play he’ll make 100 times in a row and I think his execution was off too.”
While the Capitals had a few chances to even the score in the third period, trying to mount a comeback against Anderson, owner of the league’s best save percentage (.949) and goals against average (1.52), was a daunting challenge, and the Capitals only forced him to make 18 saves.
Turris added an empty netter with 1:27 remaining to ice the contest, securing Ottawa’s fourth consecutive victory.
“All in all, we weren’t in the game I didn’t feel,” Oates said. “We were fighting an uphill battle just with our execution, decisions and you’ve got to give them some credit.”