Senators rally for OT win over Caps
Facing a two-goal deficit heading into the third period, the Senators rallied and gave Mike Fisher the chance to play overtime hero for the second time this season as Ottawa beat the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Monday night.
Chris Neil and Alexandre Picard scored goals 3:20 apart in the third and Fisher batted a Chris Phillips shot out of the air at 1:13 in the extra frame to seal the comeback victory.
"We were hungry, we knew that we could come back," Fisher said. "We came at them hard and created opportunities and buried them when we got chances. It was an exciting win for us."
Brian Elliott made 25 saves for the win as the Senators (12-6-3) won their third straight game and took control of the lead in the NHL's Northeast Division.
"We've been at home a lot and we knew we had to put some wins together and it was not going to be easy, especially against the teams we've been playing," Fisher said. "But we've been elevating our game against top teams and that's a great sign."
Semyon Varlamov made 33 stops as his Capitals (13-5-6) dropped their third straight game, all against the Canadian members of the Northeast.
The Capitals rookie netminder was called upon early to keep his team competitive, and 15 saves in a first period that started out looking more like an extended Ottawa power-play.
The Senators' Chris Campoli took a shot from the point that generated a big rebound chance for Peter Regin under four minutes in, but the Ottawa rookie forward had his chance in the slot go high and wide.
Regin didn't miss on his second chance to solve Varlamov, notching the opening tally at 7:27 off his deflection of a shot by Jesse Winchester.
Ottawa's Nick Foligno almost made it an early two-goal lead on a one-timer chance after Chris Neil stripped Mike Green of the puck in the Washington zone and slid it over to Foligno. The left wing's slapper glanced off the post and Varlamov was able to smother the bounce-back.
Washington takes lead with late surge
The Capitals found their feet on the next play. Alex Ovechkin started things off by gaining the Ottawa zone, passed to the blue-line for Brian Pothier, who slap-passed it to the front of the net, and deflected off the skate of Chris Clark and behind Elliott. A video review concluded that the Capitals captain did not use a kicking motion and the game was tied.
With 90 seconds left in the first period, Filip Kuba denied Clark his second goal of the night. With Elliott down and out in the crease and the puck floating across the crease, Kuba tied up Clark and knocked the puck away from the empty cage.
But Kuba couldn't be there a minute later when Mike Green slid the puck through a vacant slot en route to a backhand tip by Brendan Morrison. That sent Washington to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.
Just as Ottawa began the first period by putting the heat on their opponents, the Capitals returned the favour, buzzing around the Ottawa zone and making life miserable for Elliott and his defence. The goalie managed to hold his ground on a Matt Bradley stuff-in attempt 1:04 in, and 10 seconds later Elliott got lucky as Ovechkin rang a bullet shot off the post.
The Senators' Chris Kelly didn't do his team any favours - taking his second penalty of the night to continue the Washington presence in the Ottawa end of the rink and it wasn't until 12:24 of the second that Varlamov faced an Ottawa scoring threat when he turned away a Milan Michalek one-timer from Daniel Alfredsson.
More pressure from the Caps' fourth line forced Jonathan Cheechoo to turn the puck over to Jay Beagle, who slapped it past Elliott midway through the period to stretch the lead to 3-1.
Clark continued to be a thorn in the side of the Senators as he forced Elliott to make two big stops as the Scotiabank Place announcer signalled the final minute of the middle frame.
Senators dominate late
And what a difference a change in period makes.
The Senators outshot the Capitals 18-3 in the third period, making it a one-goal game less than 3:18 in when Kuba sent a floater from the blue line that Chris Neil redirected between the legs of Varlamov.
With Ovechkin off on a roughing call four minutes the Senators struck to tie the game off a shot by Alexandre Picard. With a legion of players in front of Varlamov, Picard's hard slapper from the point made it a brand new game with 12 minutes to play.
"We stopped playing," Ovechkin said. "You could see in the first two periods, we got the puck deep and took the pressure to their D and they gave us the puck and we scored goals. In the third period, we stopped doing it and you see the results."
With just over six minutes to go, Elliot robbed Green on the Capitals' best chance to retake the lead. Pinching in on the power-play, Green fired a one-timer toward the left side of the net, but Elliot quickly went post to post and denied the offensive-minded defenceman.
With 3:07 remaining, Ottawa got another chance on the man-advantage and Michalek had the best chance but fired his shot from the slot high above the crossbar.
In the extra time, Varlamov made a huge stop on a Jason Spezza and Alfredsson 2-on-1, doing the post-to-post splits, but couldn't stop the next rush.
Phillips launched a shot toward the net from the side boards and Fisher's tip fooled Varlamov.
"This was a collapse by 20 guys," Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. "There's no other way to sugarcoat it.
"We had complete control of the game. Someone lit a fire under them and we couldn't match it."