Senators stop Caps' streak at 8 with 3-1 victory
OTTAWA (AP) Ottawa coach Paul MacLean had very few complaints after the way his Senators played Thursday night.
``I thought this was the most complete game we've played in quite a while,'' MacLean said. ``For the most part, that was a real solid game from start to finish from all of our players.''
Cory Conacher also scored and Craig Anderson made 18 saves to help the Senators win their fourth straight game and move within a point of Toronto (53) for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.
Mike Ribeiro scored and Braden Holtby stopped 35 shots for the Southeast Division-leading Capitals, who hadn't lost since a 5-4 setback in overtime at Philadelphia on March 31. Washington's lead over Winnipeg in the division was trimmed to two points after the Jets beat Carolina 4-3.
While they managed to keep it close, the Capitals never gained any momentum.
``They played a very good game and had their speed all night,'' said Holtby. ``You've got to give credit to them, but there's some stuff we would like to do better. Some nights you just don't come out on top.''
While Anderson was rarely tested, he did make some timely saves to bail out his team in the third. With the Senators holding a 2-1 lead midway through the final period, Anderson made a huge save on Eric Fehr when he skated in on net all alone.
``We did a lot of good things,'' said Anderson. ``When all five guys are working as one unit and everyone is on the same page we're able to snuff out some of their offensive chances and turn the puck the other way. I thought it was one of our best games.''
Turris, who had an empty-net goal with 1:27 remaining to seal it, opened the scoring early in the second, beating Holtby for his 100th career point with a shot the Capitals goalie should have stopped off the rush.
``It's a potential playoff matchup (with the Capitals) and with how hot they were right now we just wanted to come out and play our game and take it to them,'' said Turris.
The Capitals tied it midway through the period when Ribeiro, standing just outside the crease, hit the puck out of midair to beat Anderson.
But the Senators got the lead right back just over two minutes later when a bad pass from behind the net by Holtby landed right on the stick of Conacher, who easily made it 2-1 on the turnover.
``I got a little rushed with the pressure on me,'' said Holtby. ``I had to make a blind pass and didn't execute it.''
The Senators did a good job limiting Alex Ovechkin's opportunities, holding the Russian star to only four shots. Ovechkin admitted the Capitals seemed to lack emotion and never really took control of the game.
``We didn't make a lot of shots on them and we didn't have a very good start,'' he said. ``(Holtby) played well, but you know.''
The Senators have won eight of their past ten at home against the Capitals, including a 3-2 victory Jan. 29 in the first of three scheduled meetings between the teams this season. The series finale is in Washington on April 25.
Nicklas Backstrom left midway through the third after being hit in the left arm by a slap shot let loose by Green.
``It caught him in the arm,'' said Green. ``He's alright, but I definitely gave him a bruise so I hope everything's OK.''
Capitals coach Adam Oates said Backstrom would be re-evaluated in Montreal on Friday.
Notes: Senators C Mika Zibanejad celebrated his 20th birthday. ... C Jim O'Brien, C Peter Regin, LW Matt Kassian, C Mike Hoffman, D Mike Lundin and D Andre Benoit were healthy scratches for the Senators. ... Ottawa is without C Jason Spezza (upper-body injury) and D Erik Karlsson (Achilles). ... The Capitals were without C Brooks Laich (strained groin), RW Joel Ward (knee) and D Tom Poti (back). LW Wojtek Wolski and D Jeff Schultz were healthy scratches.