Displaying why they’re the top team in the league, the Washington Capitals put an absolute beating on the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin both scored twice, while Ilya Samsonov stopped 26 of 27 Ottawa shots and the Caps cruised to a 6-1 victory.
Ovechkin’s second marker was the 684th of his career, tying him with Teemu Selanne for 11th on the all-time leaderboard.
The first period would eventually swing in the Capitals’ favour, outshooting Ottawa 13-8, but it was the Sens that struck first on a goal by Artem Anisimov.
Rudolfs Balcers made a nice play to force a Washington turnover in the neutral zone and fed Anisimov, who walked down the wall and let go a quick shot that beat Samsonov to make it 1-0.
Bit of a soft goal, but Rudy has his first point of the year.
The lead didn’t last long, though. Oshie would take advantage of a failed Mark Borowiecki clearing attempt when the puck bounced to him and the slot, and he put it past Craig Anderson to knot things at 1-1 just 1:19 into the second.
The Caps continued to press the forecheck, and established a fairly comfortable presence in the Ottawa zone. With the Sens pinned in their end for an extended stretch, Radko Gudas received a nice pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov and unloaded a rocket of a one-timer that sailed over Andy’s right shoulder to give Washington a 2-1 lead.
They would make it a two-goal lead with 2:45 to go in the frame. Ovechkin fired a bullet from about the same spot that Anisimov did, and beat Anderson short-side moments after Dylan DeMelo robbed him of a goal by pulling the puck off the line at the last second.
As if it couldn’t get any worse for Ottawa, Nick Paul attempted a sort of reverse hit on Dmitry Orlov and appeared to come down awkwardly and bend his ankle at a painful angle. He would have to be helped off after writhing on the ice in pain, putting no weight on his right leg.
The third started with more of the same. Just 41 seconds in, Niklas Backstrom displayed some gorgeous skating and puck protection as he waited out the Ottawa defenders before he found Oshie all alone in front for his second of the night.
Not even two minutes later, Jonas Siegenthaler held the Ottawa line, skated the puck down low, and centred to Lars Eller for an easy tap-in. 5-1, and Craig Anderson’s night was done.
Marcus Hogberg’s entrance into the contest gave the Sens a bit of a spark, as they were able to generate some offensive zone time but little else.
Ovechkin added his second of the game on a signature one-timer with 3:40 to play, and the game would mercifully end 6-1.
- The Nick Paul injury really looked bad. He appeared to be in a considerable amount of pain, and it had the makings of a longer-term injury. Thankfully, it seems he’s only expected to miss a minimum of two weeks.
- Drake Batherson had another nice game. Aside from one glaring turnover, he was most impressive on the forecheck. He showed some serious tenacity and winning hard-fought puck battles. This all points to him becoming a more complete player, which is awesome to see.
- Anthony Duclair blocked another shot and got stung, while we held our collective breaths, but appeared to be okay. I wish he would stop doing that in meaningless games like this, even though I understand the intent.
- Dylan DeMelo showed why he was sorely missed on the Ottawa blueline. He was steady, and constantly disrupting Washington’s zone entries. I really hope there’s a contract extension in DeMelo’s future; he’s one of the league’s best-kept secrets right now.
- Christian Jaros also left early with an injury. He had a collision with Oshie that involved some head contact, so we’ll have to see where he’s at in the next couple of days.
- The Caps are good. Like, really good. They’re tight against the salary cap, so it may be hard for them to make any meaningful acquisitions for a playoff run but this is a team that should scare everyone in the postseason.
The fact that Washington can generate high-danger chances in so many areas points to how skilled they are. Ottawa is getting there, still really good at establishing a presence in front of the goal.
The Senators are back in action on Friday night, visiting the Motor City to take on the 23(!)-point, dead last Detroit Red Wings. If they can’t beat this team, they might not win again the rest of the year. Puck drop is slated for 7:30pmET.