WASHINGTON — The Lucky 7’s were everywhere Tuesday for the Ottawa Senators, while the Washington Capitals’ long losing slide continued without their Great 8.
The Senators’ 2-0 victory here extended their winning streak over the Capitals to seven games, dating all the way back to Dec. 7, 2011, and it also allowed the Senators to bypass the Capitals in the tight Eastern Conference standings.
The Senators’ No. 7, Kyle Turris, broke a scoreless deadlock in the second period and captain Jason Spezza put the game out of reach with a third period power play goal.
At the other end of the ice, goaltender Craig Anderson was outstanding, stopping 34 shots — including 12 in the third period — to register his third shutout of the season, stifling a Capitals squad forced to play without league-leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin due to a lower body injury.
Anderson was at his best with the Capitals pressing late, robbing John Carlson and Connor Carrick.
It was a workmanlike Senators road victory: not exactly pretty from start to finish, but it got the job done and was an important bounceback following Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Senators are now on a 7-1-2 run as they try to keep pace in the increasingly heated fight for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Senators are 4-0-1 in their past five road games. Their next three games are on the road, including Thursday against Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Capitals, meanwhile, are slip-sliding away.
They’ve scored only seven goals during their current six-game losing streak (0-4-2). The offensive challenge was even bigger Tuesday, considering Ovechkin was out. Ovechkin, who suffered his injury during Sunday’s loss to the Rangers, has 35 goals, representing 26 per cent of the Capitals’ offence.
The red-hot Turris opened the scoring with 7:01 left in the second period.
He took the puck from inside his blueline, crossed the Capitals blueline and snapped a shot through Carrick’s legs and through the legs of the surprised Holtby. Turris now has five goals in six games.
The Senators were fortunate to escape the first period tied 0-0.
In many ways, the opening period was a bit like the uncharacteristic wild weather in Washington, which shut down the American capital Tuesday and kept many fans at home: it was a dog’s breakfast, full of sloppiness.
Anderson caught a break when Carrick hit the crossbar and the Senators mustered only six shots on goal against Holtby, who was making his first start since Jan. 4.
At the other end, the Senators coughed up far too many pucks around the net inside their zone, relying on Anderson to bail them out.
WHY THEY WON
The Senators patiently stuck to a game plan, waiting for their chances. Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza buried theirs.
Craig Anderson, Senators
Another impressive bounce back from Anderson, who wasn’t at his best in last Thursday’s overtime loss to the Montreal and Sunday’s defeat to the New York Rangers. He made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season.
Mikhail Grabovski, Capitals
Grabovski’s ugly gouging attempt at Zack Smith’s eyes during a scrum in the third period landed him a 10-minute misconduct. The play itself was dangerous, but it was also a dopey decision because he was one of the club’s best remaining scoring threats with Alex Ovechkin out of the lineup.
THE KARLSSON CRUNCH
Erik Karlsson is known more for his offensive gifts than his hits, but Grabovski might want to keep his head up the next time he cruises through the neutral zone with Karlsson on the ice. Karlsson’s solid open ice hit in the first period dropped Grabovski to the ice in a hurry.