Game file: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators

The Senators couldn’t follow the bouncing puck.

Game file: Washington Capitals at Ottawa Senators
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

WHY THE SENATORS LOST

They couldn’t follow the bouncing puck. The Senators came out strong and built up a 2-0 lead prior to the first intermission, but it disappeared quicker than rum and eggnog at an office Christmas party. The Capitals got on the board after Sergei Gonchar bobbled the puck at the Washington blue line, then tied it up when Chris Phillips couldn’t handle another one behind the Ottawa net. It all happened in the opening 1:20 of Period 2, leaving the Senators shell-shocked.

STUD

Eric Fehr, Capitals

The hard-working winger’s persistence again paid off against the Senators. A goal and an assist Sunday night bumped his point total to four in two games against Ottawa this season. He also brought a physical element, running goalie Brian Elliott over and getting away with it.

DUD

Sergei Gonchar, Senators

The Gonchar giveaway started the Caps’ comeback, so he winds up in this spot. He’s made a bad habit of turning the puck over in one of the biggest danger areas of the ice — a move that has contributed to his team-worst minus-19 rating.

GAME CHANGER

Letdown or pick-me-up? At face value, Fehr burying a one-timer milliseconds after the first period came to an end looked like a microcosm of Washington’s lousy luck during an eight-game losing streak. On the other hand, it probably sent the Caps to the intermission confident they could beat Elliott on this night. They did it three times in the opening 6:55 of the second period to take a 3-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

KEY STATS

- 1: Point for Alex Ovechkin, his first in four games.
- 1: Win for the Capitals in their last five games in Ottawa.
- 1: Sellout at Scotiabank Place, the first in seven home games.

YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

These beauties from the Department of Strange Statistics. The Capitals outshot their opponents in each of the eight losses preceding their win over the Senators, but opposing goalies posted a .964 save percentage against them during that stretch. Another anomaly: They hold an 8-1-1 record when firing fewer pucks than their opponents this season. Brian Elliott, meanwhile, had a lifetime 4-0-0 record against the Caps, despite a 4.03 (!) goals-against average in those games. The Ottawa netminder’s luck finally ran out Sunday.

GRIND TIME

Maybe the Capitals’ flashy stars learned something about hard work from Ottawa’s lunch pail crew in the first period. Ryan Shannon opened the scoring with a hopeful shot through traffic — an opportunity created by some nice forechecking by Jesse Winchester. Then Chris Kelly extended his point-scoring streak to five games by working the cycle with Chris Neil a bit and popping in his eighth goal of the season.

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