Capitals Again Deep-Six the Senators
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Three days after Alex Ovechkin tallied four goals in Ottawa, the Senators clamped down on the Washington Capitals' star left wing and held him to two secondary assists.
But they apparently forgot about defenseman Mike Green.
Green notched a pair of goals and an assist, and Viktor Kozlov ended a 23-game goal-scoring drought to help the Capitals overcome an early two-goal deficit and stun the Eastern Conference's best team for the third time this season, 6-3, at Verizon Center.
"I don't know, sometimes throughout the league there are certain teams you play well against," said Green, whose 10 goals are tied with Montreal's Andrei Markov for the league lead among defensemen. "But we have to give ourselves credit. We played 60 minutes, and we got the two points."
Although the Capitals remained in 14th place in the conference after picking up their third victory in four games, they moved within five points of seventh place and six points of idle Carolina for first place in the Southeast Division. Bruce Boudreau, meantime, improved to 10-5-4 since taking over as coach.
But the win might have been costly. Left wing Alexander Semin departed with a tailbone injury after being cross-checked by Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips in the first period, and defenseman Tom Poti departed in the second because of an upper-body injury, leaving Boudreau to juggle a shortened bench.
If Semin or Poti miss a substantial amount of time, it could be a blow to the Capitals, who already are without right wing Chris Clark (strained groin muscle). Semin is the Capitals' second-best offensive weapon behind Ovechkin, and Poti is averaging a team-leading 25 minutes per night. Both will be evaluated again today, General Manager George McPhee said.
"You're always concerned because they are two of the best players you've got," Boudreau said. "Whoever takes their place has to do just as well."
The Senators, meantime, were left suffering from bruised egos. Ottawa Coach John Paddock pulled goalie Martin Gerber after he surrendered three goals on eight shots. He yielded all eight in the Capitals' 8-6 win in Ottawa on Saturday.
"You can tell they feel confident playing us," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "They have nothing to lose."
Yesterday's game picked up where Saturday's left off. A combined six goals were scored in the first period, the first two going to the Senators.
Checking-line forwards Chris Neil and Dean McAmmond each scored on Olie Kolzig (31 saves) after defensive miscues 2 minutes 52 seconds apart.