The Senators got off to a great start against the Capitals, outshooting Washington 6-1 in the first five minutes. The Turris line looked dangerous as did Erik Karlsson. Then the penalty parade started. Chris Neil was penalized for a slashing penalty and while the Caps didn't score on the man-advantage, the Washington offense woke up. Shortly after the Sens killed of the Neil minor, terrible play in their own end led to Washington's first goal of the game. Joe Corvo couldn't accept a pass at Ottawa's blue line, retreated into his own end with the puck, whiffed on the puck along the boards when pressured by Eric Fehr, got turned by Michael Latta, and fell. Latta fed the puck past a diving Bobby Ryan to Fehr in the slot who snapped the puck past Craig Anderson. However, just 25 seconds after taking the lead, the Caps took a bad penalty when Mike Green held Mika Zibanejad. Just over a minute after the Caps scored, Ottawa tied up the game when Bobby Ryan scored his 12th of the season, deflecting a Patrick Wiercioch point shot.
A minute after scoring, Ottawa was back on the penalty kill, Zack Smith penalized for holding Nicklas Backstrom. A dangerous Washington power play capitalized just 30 seconds into the PP on a couple of bad bounces around the Sens net. Near the end of the period Chris Neil took a second minor penalty for interference (although there didn't seem to be much wrong with the hit, it was a little late) which led to a fight between Neil and Tyson Strachan. Strachan's instigator penalty negated the interference call on Neil. The period finished 4-on-4 after Cory Conacher took an unsportsmanlike penalty (the result of an Olympic-worthy dive by Chimera) after Mike Green was already going to the box. The period ended with Washington in the lead, 3-1.
The second period started the way the first period ended. Colin Greening got hit by Aaron Volpatti. The big winger took exception and a fight ensued. Eric Fehr's tripping penalty 6 minutes into the period gave Ottawa a chance to get back into the game and the Sens pulled one back. Karlsson teed things up for Kyle Turris and Turris' strong neutral zone rush allowed him to gain the Capitals zone. He fed a streaking Chris Phillips, who slapped a PP goal past Braydon Holtby. Midway through the period, an Erik Karlsson-Marc Methot breakout led to a Colin Greening snapshot, his first goal of the season. On yet another power play (Washington displayed Ottawa-levels of discipline in this game) Erik Karlsson look quite dominate, controlling the play and feeding Ryan, who cranked one off the post. A strong period for the Senators ended with the game tied 3-3 and the Senators outshooting the Capitals 19-3.
Washington's penalty troubles continued into the third period. At 5:34 Eric Fehr took a fairly obvious tripping call on Bobby Ryan in the neutral zone, when his stick got caught between Ryan's legs. 30 seconds into the man-advantage the Sens took their first lead of the game after some nice passing between Karlsson, Phillips and Spezza led to a Mika Zibanejad tip in off a Spezza shot. Midway through the period Chris Phillips took an ill-timed interference penalty at his own blueline, but a strong Sens PK as well as a Milan Michalek shorthanded break (which forced Mikhail Grabovski to take a tripping penalty as he rushed to get back) kept the Sens ahead by one.The Sens ended up with a truncated PP. The most dangerous moment came just as the penalty expired, when a streaking Grabovski, fresh from the box, joined a Caps rush but was tied-up by a hard-skating Karlsson. With 3:30 left in the third period, Zack Smith took a kneeing penalty on John Carlson. Carlson made him pay, just 3 seconds later. Joel Ward won the draw, dropping the puck back to Carlson, who fired it at the net. Derek Grant, attempting to block the puck got just enough of it to tip it past a helpless Anderson. Smith wasted little time getting the goal back, as a minute later he took a feed from Chris Neil and put a snap shot past Holtby five-hole, who probably wants that one back. Ryan cemented the victory with his 13th goal of the season, an empty-netter with 13 seconds left. Sens win 6-4, outshooting the Caps 41-33.
Sens Heroes: Turris Line
Bobby Ryan scored the first and last goals, but the whole line looked good all game. They started strong in the first, were dominate in the second, and looked very dangerous on the power play.
Sens Hero: the power play
The Sens scored 3 power play goals. It's what allowed Ottawa to get back into this game. Washington's discipline problems prevented the Caps from getting their big offensive stars out on the ice and didn't allow them to build on their first period, which would have been fine if Ottawa didn't make them pay with 3 goals.
Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson
Karlsson had two assists, but looked really good all game, especially on the power play, where he looked dominate. Washington tried to neutralize him physically, but Karlsson was up to the challenge, getting the better of a few Capitals, including Alex Ovechkin twice. He was great defensively, blocking a shot and was strong on the back check. He also did a great job (along with partner Marc Methot) in shutting down Ovechkin at even strength. The Caps sniper, who's been red-hot of late, managed just a secondary assist on Washington's second goal (scored on the PP when Karlsson wasn't on the ice).
The "If I Could Turn Back Time" Award sponsored by CherTM: Chris Phillips and Joe Corvo
Joe Corvo's impression of a seal in the first period was ugly. But he looked good offensively in the second and help drive Ottawa's strong possession play. Midway through the period after the Caps had managed to kill off a penalty, Corvo helped keep Washington hemmed in their own end. Phillips' jump to join the rush on what would lead to his first goal of the season seemed like the move of a much younger player. Phillips looked good on the power play as well, adding an assist on Zibanejad's goal.
From Zero to Hero in 1:04: Zack Smith
Smith took a bad penalty late in the game and Washington capitalized instantly. That was fortunate for the Sens, because it gave Smith time to score the winner in regulation.
Sens Zero: the first period
Yet another bad start. The Sens checked all the boxes: Give up first goal? Check. Take penalties? Check. Get outshot? Check. Fortunately, the Sens dominated the final two periods, outscoring the Caps 5-1 and outshooting Washington 30-15 in the second and third. If the Sens play like they did for the final two-thirds of this game, controlling possession, dominate shot attempts and not spending that much time in their own end, they will win considerably more games than they have so far this season.
Sens Zero: discipline
Ottawa took 7 minor penalties. Washington scored on 2 of those penalties. Against most teams, this would have been enough to sink the Sens. Fortunately, Washington took 9 minor penalties and Ottawa scored 3 power play goals. The Sens are always at the bottom of the penalty differential stats, they cannot count on this kind of advantage going forward.