The Ottawa Senators had been a perfect 7-0-0 when leading after two periods, but tonight was one they let slip. The first period was scoreless despite Washington outshooting Ottawa 15-6. This included a two-man advantage for 1:47 after the Senators managed to take two penalties on the same play while on the power play.
Just past two minutes into the second period, Jeff Halpern put Washington ahead when he put in Dennis Wideman's rebound. Eight minutes into the second, Chris Neil laid a hit on Alexander Ovechkin, who retaliated by putting his stick into Neil's stomach. Neil did embellish it a little bit and deserved his two minutes, but for Ovechkin to get nothing was a bit outrageous. This seemed to energise Ottawa, who tied the game through Erik Condra four minutes later. Late in the second period, Nick Foligno scored on a beautiful individual effort to send Ottawa into the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
Ottawa was heading towards a routine win for once but mid-way through the third, things began to unravel. At the 9:45 mark, Nicklas Backstrom scored a power play goal to tie the game. Four minutes later, Ovechkin skated down the left wing, then around the net and back to the right wing, lost Erik Karlsson, before wiring it into the net to score an absolutely incredible goal to put Washington ahead once more. Troy Brouwer scored 15 seconds later to make it 4-2 and send many in the crowd to the exits early. Milan Michalek's 17th goal on a power play made it an interesting finish, but Ottawa couldn't capitalise on another power play late in the game. John Carlson scored in the empty net to ice the game.
Senators zeros: Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen
Karlsson and Cowen were overwhelmed tonight and couldn't handle the Capitals first line. Karlsson in particular was victimised several times by Ovechkin. It wasn't a good night for Ottawa's top pairing.
Senators zeros: Jason Spezza, Bobby Butler and Colin Greening
The trio wasn't very noticeable and was eventually split up for parts of the game. Spezza was -3 on the night and won only 11 out of 31 face-offs.
Honourable mentions: Sergei Gonchar, Craig Anderson
Gonchar picked up an assist, was good in his own end for the most part and led all players with 27:55 of ice time. Anderson would have been a hero were it not for the third period. He was excellent in the first two periods and kept Ottawa in it. However, the third period had him downgraded to honourable mention. None of the goals were bad goals, but you have to get your goalie to make some good saves at that point in the game.
Sens killer: Alexander Ovechkin
Ovechkin was dangerous all night and was foiled by Anderson on many occasions on prime scoring chances. In the end, Ovechkin scored the goal that put Washington ahead for good on a beautiful effort and ended the night with seven shots. He also was booed on every touch by the crowd after the Chris Neil incident.