Caps 7, Senators 4
In a game that had a plethora of entertaining goals -- Alex Ovechkin's pair of tallies through Filip Kuba's legs, Mike Green's "Hail Mary" pass and ensuing breakaway by Alexander Semin, the pair of under-five-second power play goals -- that perhaps it's best to start off with the big picture.
Rather than get caught up in a win over Detroit and come out unprepared for a team with the third-worst record in the NHL, the Capitals game out hitting anything that moved and wound up with their second win in two days to retake second-place in the Eastern Conference with 68 points.
"We wanted to try to make a point of playing well after an emotional game yesterday," Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Added Green: "Bruce made it clear that we needed to come out strong. We can't let up at all just because we did have such a good game the night before. Usually we start off slow the next day. It was a challenge for us to get that first period."
*Alex Ovechkin may hate day games but his stats sure don't. The reigning MVP recorded his seventh-career hat trick against the Senators bringing his weekend total to five goals. The first two were both blocker-side shots on Brian Elliott, who was pulled after Ovechkin's second tally.
*The neatest part of Ovechkin's hat trick though may have been that his second and third goals were mirror images of each other. One with him streaking down the right side against Elliott, the other with him skating down the left against Alex Auld, both plays developed as he froze Filip Kuba, then shot the puck through the 6 foot 4, 226 pound defenseman's skates while using him as a screen.
Boudreau said it best: "The second goal, I don't think the poor goalie (Elliott) saw it. He was just on...He could have had more. You can tell early when that shot's going, when it's not fluttering, when it's not going all over the place. I think it was about this time last year that he started to get into a good groove. Hopefully, he's on the verge of doing the same thing."
*Ovechkin has recorded 57 points in the past 41 games (33g, 24a). It was his 11th multiple-goal gae of the season.
*Mike Green recorded a season-high four points today with a goal and three assists that gave him both the points (40) and goal-scoring (15) lead among all NHL defensemen again. He also tied Ovechkin for the team lead in power-play goals with 11.
*What everyone talked about after the game though was Green's "Hail Mary" -- or as Boudreau said "sick" -- pass to Alexander Semin, who scored a nifty backhand, breakaway goal.
"I see Tom Poti do it all the time, so I took it out of his book I guess," Green said. "I saw Semin a step ahead, I couldn't make a pass through those guys so the only way to go was over them. He picked it up great because it was bouncing and made a great goal so give the credit to him."
*Which brings us to Semin, who before that goal was on a four-game scoreless streak and has been earning more attention recently for his bad penalties than anything else.
"I talked to (Semin) on the bench," Ovechkin said. "I said sometimes the puck doesn't go in, but that it's coming. It's coming. Then the next shift he has a breakaway and scores a beautiful goal. I'm glad for him....He plays great for us. Sometimes he has mistakes, everybody have mistakes."
*The Caps two goals that came off faceoffs on the man-advantage (Only three seconds of power play for the first, and just four for the second.) marked was the first time in the past 10 games that the Senators have allowed two power-play goals. Ottawa's penalty killing unit was ranked seventh in the league heading into today's game at 83.5 percent.
*Both of Sergei Fedorov's three-point games this season have come against Ottawa.
*Eric Fehr's fourth goal of the season was his first since Dec. 4 against the Islanders.
*Jeff Schultz led all defensemen with 23:12 minutes of ice time, recorded his eighth assist of the season (His last was Nov. 20 vs Los Angeles.) and was a plus-4.
*The Capitals have scored 11 goals in two games after being held to two goals for four straight games.
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