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Posted at 12:18 AM ET, 12/20/2010

Caps snap losing streak, beat Senators, 3-2

By Katie Carrera

While the Capitals haven't been all doom and gloom during their eight-game losing streak, the jubilation in the dressing room after a 3-2 win over the Senators that ended the skid was a definite contrast to the somber mood these past few weeks. The players were yelling and joking around again following this much-needed win.

And although there was obviously some hyperbole involved in the postgame comments, by the looks on the Capitals' faces there might not have been as much as you might think. Here's what some of the players had to say about this victory:

Mathieu Perreault: "It felt like we won a championship, it's been so long since we've won. It's a great feeling."

Nicklas Backstrom: "It feels good to finally win again, I almost forgot how it was to win so it's a good feeling. I missed it."

Michal Neuvirth: "It's unbelievable. It's like my second-best game ever after the ones where I won the Calder Cup. This is the second-best feeling ever, it's such a relief."

Then there's Coach Bruce Boudreau, just as happy as anyone that the streak is over, but he wasn't slow to point out that one out of nine is just a start.

"In the sense that we'll be able to sleep tonight, I think it was a big win," Boudreau said. "As a coach just looking at the players' faces and seeing them happy instead of grinding and everything, it's a huge win. But in the end it's one out of nine so it's not like we're out of the woods. I thought we competed really hard tonight, especially after getting down 2-0, but they can enjoy it for 10 minutes and then we've got another game on Tuesday."

--Mathieu Perreault told me he decided pretty quickly that driving to the net was the best thing he could do against the Senators. He scored two goals and his early hustle also got him 3:20 of ice time on the Caps' power play, not a small amount when you consider that Perreault saw only 12:40 of total time on the ice.

Especially after the non-goal by Eric Fehr at the end of the first period, the Capitals needed to make an early statement in the second period. Perreault went a long way to accomplishing that.

"I think if you just look at the bench when we score a goal recently -- three goals is a massive output for this team in the last 10 games," Boudreau said when asked about the boost from the first goal. "When you look at the bench and we're jumping up so high for one goal you just know that they wanted it, that they wanted to win so badly."

--The Caps' penalty kill did some solid work Sunday night in keeping the Senators 0 for 5 with the man-advantage, but it was definitely a nail-biting situation toward the end. On that last PK, as Washington negated a holding call on Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich had at least three terrific efforts to clear the puck out of the zone, to the point that the Scotiabank Place crowd started to boo.

--Also heard at Scotiabank Place was a very loud "Woo!" by Alex Ovechkin after Fehr's goal tied it up 2-2 early in the second. The Capitals hadn't had much to celebrate lately but goals in rapid succession made it clear that they were out to reclaim control of the contest.

--For those asking, Alexander Semin, who is out with a lower-body injury the nature of which was not disclosed by the team, did not join the team on any part of this road trip. He was scratched for both games.

--The Capitals are off tomorrow but will return to the ice for a morning skate on Tuesday in preparation for that night's matchup with the Devils.

By Katie Carrera  | December 20, 2010; 12:18 AM ET
Categories:  Mathieu Perreault, Ottawa Senators  
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Comments

I tell you, for me, I was never happier since that day 26 years ago when mrstominsocal1 (at the time it was mrstominbaltimore1) said we would soon be having a "new Caps fan."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 20, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

@FLDave
I am glad my hunch was correct, although, early in the game I thought you were going to be right. The cure is not complete but the patient is getting better.

Posted by: hock1 | December 20, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I was rather hoping for a loss and a new coach. I'm really sick of getting behind in the 1st every game. We wouldn't have come back against a good team.
I am glad to see them crowd the net. Keep up the effort and good things will come.

Posted by: chriscaps | December 20, 2010 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Is Alfredsson for real? The "ONLY" reason the Caps celebrated like they did was becasue of the HBO cameras?

Yeah right! You try going eight straight games without a win and see how you celebrate when you finally win.

I never really liked him anyway, so now i just dislike him even more.

Congratulations Caps! Let's hope there's more wins for this month.

Posted by: jwash4472 | December 20, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I feel like chriscaps, I wanted to see another loss so BigBaby would get his walking papers. Let's face it, the Caps beat a weak Sens. Let's see how they do against the incredibly inept Devils and then the red hot Pens. They string together 3 victories, we are stuck with that loser coach until the end. BB should have been fired last year after the playoff collapse, but it seems that GMGM will not pull the trigger.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 20, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

The NHL network produced a table that showed that every Stanley C!p Winner since 2002 went through a losing streak in November or December - The Red Wings lost 9 of 11 before winning the C!p . The point was that the Caps haven't needed to deal with adversity until the playoffs, which produced the early outs. Learning what it takes now will make them more formidable in the playoffs.

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 20, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see a win. However, barring a 10-0 loss to the Devils, BB has saved his job. Although they played good in the 2nd and 3rd, these Caps still have a lot of issues that have resurfaced during this "streak". I'm actually apprehensive about Pens game, don't want to see Caps embarrased.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | December 20, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

chriscaps and JIMALLCAPS2,
Really, rooting against the Caps and claiming to be Caps fans? So, if BB happens to still be around to lead us in the playoffs, will you still be rooting against us for the good of the team?


Posted by: _Mark | December 20, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

@_Mark - well said, I often wonder why some of the people on this board even call themselves Caps fans when they seem to hate everything about the team.

@JIM - This was exactly the type of game that usually ends losing streaks, a hard game against (on paper) a weaker team. Hopefully this gives them back some confidence, which was a large factor in the last 2 or 3 losses.

@jwash - Cosider that Alfredson is an Ottawa lifer and as such has been through many losing streaks, so finally getting that win is just part of the game for him.

Posted by: ds_kelly | December 20, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Man I love the people who just can't be happy. I know regular season means little (as we've been over a number of times) but BB has the best regular season winning percentage is history. Better than Bowman (#2 on the list) and better than Babcock (#4 on the list). I'm not saying I've been thrilled with him, but the team has won something every year that he has been there:

2007/2008: First Southeast title in years
2008/2009: First playoff series of the new millenium
2009/2010: First President's trophy ever.

Again, this doesn't mean a ton when the team has one win in the past nine, but it can be argued that he has helped this franchise and deserves a shot to right this ship. If they only win one of the next five or if they lose the first round of the playoffs then his time is over, but I, personally, am glad BB is getting a full shot at this.

@flynnie321

I was wondering that the other day, so thanks a lot for sharing. Even Philly last year had to overcome adversity to even qualify (they clinched on a SHOOTOUT) so, and maybe I am a little too optimistic, this streak can ultimately be at least a little useful.

Posted by: Aldred15 | December 20, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Man I love the people who just can't be happy. I know regular season means little (as we've been over a number of times) but BB has the best regular season winning percentage is history. Better than Bowman (#2 on the list) and better than Babcock (#4 on the list). I'm not saying I've been thrilled with him, but the team has won something every year that he has been there:

2007/2008: First Southeast title in years
2008/2009: First playoff series of the new millenium
2009/2010: First President's trophy ever.

Again, this doesn't mean a ton when the team has one win in the past nine, but it can be argued that he has helped this franchise and deserves a shot to right this ship. If they only win one of the next five or if they lose the first round of the playoffs then his time is over, but I, personally, am glad BB is getting a full shot at this.

@flynnie321

I was wondering that the other day, so thanks a lot for sharing. Even Philly last year had to overcome adversity to even qualify (they clinched on a SHOOTOUT) so, and maybe I am a little too optimistic, this streak can ultimately be at least a little useful.

Posted by: Aldred15 | December 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

From Neil Greenberg's Caps Insider Statistical Analysis posted on Caps Insider Dec. 11. As the NHL Network Commentators said when looking at this data in a table: "Those are some good hockey clubs." GO CAPS!

All NHL teams face adversity. Last year's Chicago Blackhawks had three three-game losing streaks. The Pittsburgh Penguins had a five-game slump and three more three-game skids in the year Crosby and Co. got to hang out with Lord Stanley. The Detroit Red Wings had a February to forget, losing 10 of 11 after an eight-game win streak during their championship season. The Anaheim Ducks dropped eight of 11 before the All-Star break, and the Carolina Hurricanes had two three-game losing streaks during their road to glory.

Even the Caps' win totals through the first five games of December are not too far off, having won 18 games while the past five Cup winners have won 18, 23, 22, 15 and 19 through the same time frame.

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 20, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else think it is time to send a message to Backie and demote him to 2nd line for a game or 2? He has looked WAY worse than Ovie...at least offensively, and I think Backs is a big reason Ovie is struggling. He just looks so out of sorts...no flow with the puck.

As for last night...My normal BP of 110/68 seemed to spike to 140/80 (or so it felt). They really wanted to test us fans in the last 10 minutes didn't they.

Funny that disregarding the blowouts and the Toronto game, it was probably one of the worst games we played over that streak. The stars, Avs, Boston, all looked better than that one, but I will take the win and just pray we build off it.


Anyone else laugh their a$$e$ off when GMGM just shook his head no at the camera after reviewing the OV goal...he was like, there is no way that one sticks. pretty cute.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow...just looked at our standings and we have played a lot of games! some other teams should have some busy schedules over the next few weeks. How Pitt got 4 days off between games is beyond me!

Hopefully our schedule will ease up a bit and our players will have some time to breath and heal.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post. Stupid school computers. I guess I should probably be teaching instead of posting of Caps Insider though

Posted by: Aldred15 | December 20, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

LONG ROAD TO GLORY - Champions Struggles in C!p Season
2006-2007 Anaheim 2-7-2
2007-2008 Detroit 1-8-2
2008-2009 P#*!ns 2-8-0
2009-2010 Chicago 2-5-2

That Detroit Club lost 10 of 11 in February, which is not reflected in the table. Pretty good club. ALL THE WAY CAPS!

Posted by: flynnie321 | December 20, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach - Sure, if you demote guys for coming down with the flu... :-p

Posted by: irockthered | December 20, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

capscoach,

Ov is struggling in part because he has no space to move in, that's not on Nicky.

Posted by: Steve_R | December 20, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

One thing I would like to see more of is OV hanging out in front of the net, especially on PPs. Locker mentioned it last night that it is clear that when he is there, 2-3 opposing players gravitate to him.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | December 20, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post. Stupid school computers. I guess I should probably be teaching instead of posting of Caps Insider though

Posted by: Aldred15

what do you teach....school computers do seem to double post where I am more as well.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@steveR

I think he is also struggling b/c Nicky is making it easy for them to double team Alex...if he starts playing better, teams have to spread out their coverage...he also can't handle the puck well as of late...he takes so long to get it under control that the other team is on him or the goalie had time to position himself

@irockthered

he has not had the flu for a month...he has not looked good all season, and particularly bad this past month.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I want BB (BigBaby) gone cause he is a lousy coach and I hate everything about the Caps. Get a clue, I can love the team and franchise and not be happy with a coach who sets a losing in the playoffs strategy. The Caps won 3-2 after going down 2-0 in the first against a weak team. I want to see a coach who will implement a defense first system that will work much better for the post season. Let's see how the Caps do against the hapless Devils (who last beat the Caps 5-0) and the very hot Pens. Wanting a better coach is not hate for the team, wise up, fools.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS2 | December 20, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

You gotta keep MP in the lineup. There is no reason, whatsoever, to send him back to Hershey. He generates chances every game. He's an NHL player. More so than some other Caps.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | December 20, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS2,
I get it that you don't think BB is a good coach. How long are you going to root against the Caps for the good of the team? As long as it takes for Coach BB to be gone? Even if it takes years?

I disagree with your assessment of Coach BB. I dearly hope that we will win the Cup with him at the helm.

Posted by: _Mark | December 20, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Skid OVER. What a relief!

Now to exorcise the Devils...

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 20, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Skid OVER. What a relief!

Now to exorcise the Devils...

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 20, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino....knock on wood please!! we have not traditionally played well against weak oponents.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino....knock on wood please!! we have not traditionally played well against weak oponents.

Posted by: capscoach | December 20, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

With NHL expansion and the watering down of the league, the fact is that no one team dominates for 3 periods on a regular basis anymore.

I was one of the first to be critical of the Capitals last year seemingly pull out games where they only played well for 1 or 2 periods.

But after watching the Penguins, Wings and Stars recently these teams are winning but they suffer from the same let downs from time to time and the same weak periods as Washington.

The type of dominance you used to see from Montreal, NY Islanders, Edmonton and the Wings from the 1990's teams is over.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 20, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe all the negative comments about BB. He just went through the first real losing streak of his coaching tenure. He adjusted his system a bit to be more defensive minded, he challenged his players and he didn't panic. That shows he's a good coach.

This team needed to go through this. They haven't since they started winning 3 years ago. It will give them experience and make them stronger. Jeez...a bunch of nay-sayers and whiners.

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe all the negative comments about BB. He just went through the first real losing streak of his coaching tenure. He adjusted his system a bit to be more defensive minded, he challenged his players and he didn't panic. That shows he's a good coach.

This team needed to go through this. They haven't since they started winning 3 years ago. It will give them experience and make them stronger. Jeez...a bunch of nay-sayers and whiners.

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 20, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS2

I think you need to get a clue. The Stanley Cup is regarded as the toughest thing to win in all of sports. You think because the Caps have had their first prolonged losing streak in 3 years that suddenly, the coach has to go? Did you think about the players out with injury? The players playing through the flu? The first real regular season adversity this team has ever dealt with?

You are an idiot. Go back to where you came from and take your negative BS with you. Calling BB Big Baby shows your ignorance. He always says after a game he isn't gonna point to the refs or the bad bounces because he doesn't want to make excuses. Yeah, he's a huge baby.

When they win the next 12 of 14 we don't want you back on the bandwagon. When they actually go deep in the playoffs with Gabby behind the bench, i better not hear you waxing about how great the coach and the team are. This franchise has had such bad luck and negative press for so long. The rest of us real fans don't need we-tall-did rejects like you claiming to be a fan just to bash them when they are winning or when they are down.

Get a clue. Sounds to me you would fit in real well in Philly. Maybe you're really a Flyer fan but are just too stupid to realize it. Hope this helps you see the light. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted by: jmurray019 | December 20, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"With NHL expansion and the watering down of the league, the fact is that no one team dominates for 3 periods on a regular basis anymore...."

@RoyHobbs4
--------------
Good comment. Got me thinking about all those games where Caps played great in only one period (e.g., third period in Boston). Opponents' fans and press probably asking, "Why can't our team play a full 60 minutes?"

Posted by: OccasionalCritic | December 20, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Glad the team got a win. All you haters should just stay Redskins fans who have a new coach every year. You want a coach that wants to implement more of a defensive game do you remember what good old Glen hanlon was trying to do. Half are fan are just fair weather fans. Verizon center is more of a circus than a game compared to other arena's. if you haters want the coach gone so bad why don't you just stop watching them. Its been a tough month with injury's, flu and so on players in and out of the line-up.

Posted by: vaporboy12 | December 20, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have failed to develop consistency in performance.

That sounds funny for a team that won 50 games last year, but it's the truth.

Boudreau's teams have been bedeviled by very steep peaks and some valleys as well, in games and between games.

But more than anything Boudreau seems incapable of focusing the Caps in a do or die situation to step up and play a 60 minute game and perform at a high level.

It's those crucial games to stop a 3 game losing streak or beat a quality opponent on the road, and the Caps continue to come up short in these areas.

With Semin out of the lineup and Fleischmann traded, the Caps are challenged to score goals.

In that losing skid, Ovechkin has taken far fewer shots and only has 12 goals on the season.

You would figure with a goal deciding a lot of these games that were lost (including two in OT) that Ovechkin would come out of his shell and provide the needed lift.

But he didn't do that.

It's up to the mucker and grinder line to lead the way out of the forest.

Great for Perreault and Fehr, but one has to question where the leaders of this team have been.

Ovechkin, Backstrom, Green, etc.

These guys have been almost invisible on the score sheet over these 8 games.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 20, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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