Sens score wild win in Washington

This was different. The good Senators AND their evil twins showed up in the same game.

Sens score wild win in Washington
Washington Capitals center Michael Latta (46) dives over Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (6) for the puck. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON — This was different. The good Senators AND their evil twins showed up in the same game.

The result: A wild, back and forth game against the Washington Capitals. In the end, a Senators team that needed to find inspiration delivered an inspired, 6-4, comeback victory — Ottawa’s first regulation win at the Verizon Center since March 12, 2006.

Zack Smith scored the game-winner with 2:23 remaining in regulation, converting a semi-breakaway with a glove-side shot.

Mika Zibanejad had scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, as a shot by captain Jason Spezza deflected off the leg of Zibanejad on a power play. Ottawa’s third power play goal of the game gave them their first lead of the night at 6:05 of the third period. That held up until a power-play goal late in the third by the Caps’ John Carlson.

Finally, Smith ended the tumult. Bobby Ryan added an empty-net goal, his second of the night and 13th of the season.

After falling behind 3-1 on a couple of quick Capitals strikes in the first period, the Senators fired up a spirited rally on the strength of goals by two of the team’s most unlikely scorers — Chris Phillips and Colin Greening. It was goal No. 1 of the season for both players and capped a middle period in which the Capitals got into a world of hurt with penalty trouble.

Phillips, a good-luck charm whose goals generally herald an Ottawa victory, hadn’t scored in 39 games, dating to March 25. When he does score, the Senators have a record of 52-9-4-2. In career game No. 1,097, Phillips had one of the more productive nights in his career — a goal and an assist.

Ottawa outshot Washington 19-3 in the second period, dominating the hosts, who may have felt the game was over after scoring two goals in a span of 47 seconds in the opening period to surge ahead 3-1.

That was their response to Patrick Wiercioch directing the Ottawa power play goal to set up the Senators’ first goal, erasing a 1-0 Washington lead. Often the most dangerous point shots are the simple flicks: Wiercioch smartly wristed a point shot that Ryan was able to tip behind Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. Ryan thrust his arms to the sky in celebration of his team-leading 12th of the season.

The joy was short-lived. Less than a minute after Ryan scored, the Capitals struck on the power play, evidence of their NHL No. 3 rank in the department. Still, it was hardly classic. Alex Ovechkin fired a shot that seemed to hit both Troy Brouwer of the Caps and Ottawa’s Marc Methot, springing free to Marcus Johansson, who slammed it into a wide-open net.

More distressing was Washington’s third of the period, less than a minute later, as Joel Ward won a puck battle and threw it out front, finding Brooks Laich all alone. Laich, a former Senators forward who came to Washington in a deadline deal for Peter Bondra (an old wound, I know), waltzed in on Craig Anderson and lifted a backhand over his shoulder.

Despite some dazzling shifts by Washington’s skill forwards, the Senators tested Holtby with some quality chances. Taking advantage of a second period power play, the veteran Phillips pulled the Senators to within one at 3-2 when he ripped a slapshot over the glove hand of Holtby.

Greening, fresh off a fight, used Chris Neil and Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner as a screen to beat Holtby on a wrist shot just inside the stick side post.

A relieved Anderson made 29 saves for his first victory since Nov. 15 versus Boston.

GAME FILE

WHY THEY WON

They usually do when Chris Phillips scores. No. 4 doesn’t get many, but when he does, a W is all but guaranteed.

CHEERS

To not going down meekly after falling behind by two goals. Shades of last season with that effort.

JEERS

To Capitals defenceman Mike Green for taking three minor penalties of the lazy variety before the game was half done. Holding, holding, hooking. The Capitals were undisciplined all night long.

ROUGH STUFF

Colin Greening hit his head on the ice after a fight with Washington’s Aaron Volpatti. Greening objected to Volpatti’s open ice hit, but was cut when his helmet came off and he rolled to the ice after taking down Volpatti. Greening went to the room to get patched up, then quickly returned to the penalty box to sit out his fighting major. Then scored a huge goal.

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