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The Caps made it standings points in nine straight games as they hung on to defeat the Ottawa Senators, 2-1. Goals by Jay Beagle and Nicklas Backstrom, plus stellar netminding from Braden Holtby was the formula for a successful evening in the first of a back-to-back set of games.
- Plus: Braden Holtby. What can you say? He was the best player on the ice for either team in this game, stopping 38 of 39 shots, perhaps only a Mike Green turnover between him and his second straight shutout. He kept the Caps in the game with eight saves when the Caps were shorthanded in the first period. Holtby is now 7-0-2, 1.75, .940 in his last nine appearances.
- Minus: Special "teams." Holtby was the best penalty killer, and Nicklas Backstrom recorded a power play goal on what was an individual -- and clever -- effort. But the penalty killers allowed 13 shots on goal in six minutes of penalty killing time, and the Caps' power play managed only four shots on goal in 6:11 of power play time, including one shot on goal in 1:06 of 5-on-3 power play time.
Ten more notes on the game:
- Jay Beagle's goal in the second period was his fifth of the year, a career high in just his 28th game of the season. He has had three goals in his last nine games.
- Until Evgeny Kuznetsov recorded a shot on goal 4:59 into the second period, the second line of Kuznetsov, Troy Brouwer, and Marcus Johansson had not recorded a shot on goal. For the game, that line had three shots on goal, all by Kuznetsov. Brouwer did not have a shot attempt; Johansson had one (a miss).
- Only one of the three defensive pairs recorded any shots on goal for the Caps. John Carlson (3) and Brooks Orpik (2) did the honors. Carlson had ten shot attempts. On the other hand, he was charged with five giveaways.
- Mike Green did not have a shot on goal, but he has two assists. It was his second two-assist game in his last three contests, and he is on a three-game points streak (1-4-5). Now, about that turnover at his own blue line to spring Erik Condra for the Senators' only goal...
- In fairness to Green, he was well past the end of a shift. Condra scored with Green having been on the ice for 1:57, having to remain on ice after an icing call earlier in that shift.
- Ottawa outshot the Caps, 39-23, but the total attempts were somewhat less lopsided. The Senators had 67 shot attempts to the Caps' 59.
- Michael Latta packed a lot into just 6:57 of ice time. He had a ten-minute misconduct penalty, four hits, and managed to take seven draws (winning four).
- Nicklas Backstrom just does the little things well. He won 15 of 22 draws, and on his game-winning power play goal, he isolated defenseman Erik Karlsson and forced him to make a decision he did not want to make - play the pass to the middle or play Backstrom. Karlsson chose...poorly. Backstrom froze him and snapped the puck over goalie Craig Anderson's left shoulder.
- Speaking of faceoffs, the Caps schooled the Senators in the circle, winning 34 of 54 faceoffs (63.0 percent). Seven of the eight Caps called upon to take draws were better than 50 percent; only Eric Fehr (4-for-6) was under 50 percent for the evening.
- How good was Braden Holtby early? Ottawa outshot the Caps, 11-2 in the first 8:25 of the game, eight of those shots coming on the power play, one of those coming when he pushed across the crease to glove Clarke MacArthur's drive at the near post. The play was reviewed to see if Holtby made the save with his glove behind the goal line, but the save stood up. As it turned out, it might have been the pivotal save of the game.
And now, this...