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Capitals vs. Senators Recap: Caps Dig Hole, Climb Out, But Fall on a Heartbreaking Breakaway in OT

The Caps were in an 0-3 hole before the game was ten minutes old. But they climbed back to tie it in the third. It was as far as they would get, though, as the Ottawa Senators prevailed in overtime, 4-3.

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The Washington Capitals started with energy, but a series of miscues, foibles, and assorted hijinks resulted in the Ottawa Senators scoring three goals in the first ten minutes.  The Caps slowly climbed back to tie it on goals by Marcus Johansson, Mike Green, and Troy Brouwer.  It would be as far as the Caps would get, though, as Kyle Turris scored a breakaway goal in overtime to give the Senators the overtime win

Here's Saturday night's Plus/Minus:

  • Plus: Knowing the difference between urgency and panic.  The Caps worked themselves into an 0-3 hole, and they might have panicked themselves into an 0-5 hole before the game was half done.  They did not, slowly and patiently working their way back up the wall of that hole to secure a hard-earned standings point.
  • Minus: Continuity.  The Caps suffered from being nudged out of a rhythm in the first period.  They got off to a decent start, out-attempting the Senators, 5-2, in the first three minutes, but a bad line change put them in a hole when Mark Stone took advantage to walk in and fire a shot that goalie Braden Holtby snapped his glove at but missed.  Then, three penalties taken in a space of 1:38 gave Ottawa two 5-on-3 advantages, both of which they converted.  It was not as if the Caps played all that poorly, just that they kept shooting themselves in the foot in the first ten minutes.

Ten more notes on the game...

  • Going into this game, the Caps had allowed one 5-on-3 power play goal this season.  Ottawa had two.
  • Mike Green's goal was his third in five games and fourth in his last nine contests.
  • John Carlson had a pair of assists, giving him 13 multi-point games this season, tying Mike Green for third among all NHL defensemen.
  • Marcus Johansson was a dervish out there tonight.  He added to his career best season in goals with his 19th, recorded three shots on goal, and his other shot attempt was a "miss" that hit iron and caromed out behind goaltender Andrew Hammond.
  • The Caps dictated the game's pace over the last 40 minutes, generally trying to tenderize the Senators along the boards and playing deliberately.
  • How disjointed was the game's flow for the Caps in the first period?  Alex Ovechkin had only one shot attempt in the period, and that came with just 19 seconds left in the frame.
  • The Caps were KO'ed in the circle.  The top three centers - Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Eric Fehr were a combined 25-for-60 (41.7 percent) for the game.
  • Brooks Orpik recorded his 18th assist of the season. Only once has he had more, in 2009-2010 with Pittsburgh (23). Tonight was the first time in 16 games this season in which Orpik had an assist that the Caps lost.  The Caps had been 15-0-0 when Orpik recorded a helper, four of those wins coming in overtime.
  • Brooks Laich skated just 8:46 tonight, the first time this season he skated fewer than 11 minutes, and the first time he skated fewer than ten minutes in a game since he skated 9:46 against the San Jose Sharks on February 13, 2012.
  • It will be a second-straight four goals against game for Braden Holtby (the first time he allowed four or more goals in consecutive games since late January), but a goal off a bad line change that left a shooter alone to pick a spot, two 5-on-3 power play goals, and a breakaway.  It might have been one of the better four goals against performances of the season.

And now, this...