WHY THE SENATORS WON
They’re playing loose and nobody is taking them seriously. The second-place Capitals should have been primed for a blowout, considering they were sitting in Ottawa while the Senators played the night before in New York. They couldn’t find a way to beat Craig Anderson early, however, which seemed to sap some life out of their Alex Ovechkin-less forward corps in the second and third periods. The Senators are now a win away from falling further down the draft ladder.
Milan Michalek, Senators
Michalek certainly wasn’t showing any lingering effects from the broken foot he suffered on Feb. 26. He was flying in his first game back, nearly scoring twice in the first period. He picked up an assist on Erik Condra’s third period insurance goal after jumping on a Washington turnover and feeding it out front.
Semyon Varlamov, Capitals
His return from injury wasn’t quite as successful. Varlamov was playing in his first game since suffering a lower body injury on Feb. 20 and didn’t look all that comfortable. He looked downright terrible on Condra’s goal, letting the puck zip right through the wickets.
Craig Anderson. If he keeps this up, the Anderson-for-Elliott trade may go down as one of the great swindles in NHL history. It’s way too early to make that call of course, but for now, Senators general manager Bryan Murray has to be pleased with himself. Anderson was in top form for the second straight night, stopping 31 shots for his second shutout in a Senators sweater.
- 4: Wins in the past five games for the Senators.
- 0-2-1: Varlamov’s lifetime record against Ottawa.
- 2: Losses in Washington’s last 11 games.
- 3-1: The way the season series ends — advantage Capitals.
- 2: Shutouts for the organization Friday (Anderson in Ottawa, Lehner in AHL Binghamton)
YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
Prior to the game, the Senators acknowledged a group of Ottawa students who, in May 2010, set the Guinness world record for the biggest group hug (more than 10,000 participants) and raised almost $500,000 for cancer charities including Rogers House. So maybe, just maybe, Senators’ tough guy Francis Lessard and Washington bruiser D.J. King were paying homage when their first period fight turned into a 45-second bear hug. They still got five minutes each in the penalty box, though.
The Ottawa Senators settled their goalie situation when signed Anderson to a four-year, $12.75 million contract this week. The Caps? They still don’t know who’s going to start in the playoffs this season. Will it be Michal Neuvirth, who has been solid most of the season, or Semyon Varlamov, who has better numbers in fewer games? For the record, Neuvirth was actually scheduled to start Friday night, but a sudden illness kept him out.
Scary moment late in the third period when Washington’s Matt Bradley put a dangerous hit on Patrick Wiercioch as the two streaked towards the end boards in the Ottawa zone. While Wiercioch lay prone, Zack Smith took some immediate retribution. He dropped the gloves with Bradley, badly bloodying the Caps winger.