Thursday, October 20, 2022

A NO Point Night: Washington Capitals -- Game 5: Senators 5 - Capitals 2

The Washington Capitals made their second trip north of the border in the young season, visiting the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.  The Caps were looking to build on their two-game winning streak after two losses to open the season, while Ottawa was seeking a second consecutive win after beating the Boston Bruins, 7-5 in their last outing for their first win of the season.  The Caps broke on top, 2-0, on a pair of first period power play goals.  But thereafter, the home team broke down the Caps, and Ottawa scored five unanswered goals (two into an empty net) to win, going away, 5-2.

First period…

The first half of the period was a fast-paced back and forth affair until the Caps drew the first penalty of the game, Jake Sanderson sent off for tripping T.J. Oshie.  The Caps went two-men up when Travis Hamonic went to the box for delay of game, puck over the glass, putting the Caps on a 72-second 5-on-3 advantage.  The passing was not crisp to start the two-man advantage, John Carlson twice feeding the puck into Alex Ovechkin skates.  Then, Dylan Strome fired one off the post behind goalie Anton Forsberg, but it ricocheted out.  Oshie finally converted with five second left on the 5-on-3 when Marcus Johansson circled around the back of the Ottawa net and sent a backhand feed to Oshie for a one-timer from the left-wing circle at 10:01 of the period.

Anthony Mantha converted the 5-on-4 portion of the power play 34 seconds later, Dmitry Orlov feeding Mantha for a one-timer from the right-wing circle to make it 2-0, 10:35 into the period.

The period ended with that 2-0 advantage, closing what might have been the Caps best 20 minutes of the season so far.

-- The Caps outshot the Sens, 12-6, for the period and out-attempted them, 23-14.

-- Anthony Mantha led the Caps with three shots on goal; John Carlson had four shot attempts.

-- In “the more things change, the more they stay the same” file, Connor McMichael, getting his first appearance of the season, had the lowest total ice time (2:55) and the fewest shifts (four).  His only crooked number on his line of the scoresheet was a credited hit.

Second period…

The period started peacefully enough, for a hockey game, but just before the four-minute mark, Garnet Hathaway for the Caps and Travis Hamonic for the Senators were sent off for coincidental minors (roughing) after Nic Dowd leveled Jake Sanderson along the wall.  Ottawa gained the man advantage when T,J, Oshie went off for tripping less than a minute later, putting the Senators on a 4-on-3 power play.  The 4-on-3 expired, but the Senators scored just after going 5-on-4 when Drake Batherson converted a Brady Tkachuk pass for a one-timer from below the left wing circle at the 5:48 mark.

Ottawa returned to the power play when Oshie went off again, this time for slashing at the 6:29 mark.  Batherson converted his second power play goal when goalie Darcy Kuemper could not control a rebound of a Thomas Chabot shot, Batherson collecting it and curling the puck around Kuemper’s right pad to make it 2-2, 7:39 into the period.

Ottawa appeared to take the lead 8:40 into the period, but a Josh Norris goal on a deflection was immediately washed out for being redirected with a high stick.  Video review confirmed the on-ice call.

Washington took their fourth penalty of the period at 8:48 when Conor Sheary was sent off for interference.  The Ottawa penalty was washed out when Brad Tkachuk was sent to the box for slashing.  The teams skated off the 4-on-4 situation, putting the Caps on an abbreviated power play.  The Caps did not convert, and the teams returned to 5-on-5 still tied, 2-2.

Washington went to their fourth power play of the evening when the Senators were called for too many men on the ice at the 13:57 mark.  The Caps did not convert, Ottawa being the first team in this game to kill the full two minutes of a power play.

Things got out of hand with the Senators going to a heavier physical game late in the period.  Connor McMichael had enough of the hijinks and went toe-to-toe with Parker Kelly, both players going off with five-minute fighting majors at the 18:30 mark.

The Caps went shorthanded yet again when Alex Ovechiin went to the box with 12.5 seconds left in the period for high-sticking.  Ottawa had offensive zone time but failed to convert, the remainder of the power play carrying over to the third period.

-- As dominating as the Caps were in the first period, the Senators were that in the second, although not without some help from the officiating, which was much more tightly called in the middle frame.  The Sens outshot the Caps, 15-5, and they out-attempted them, 25-13.

-- Connor McMichael’s fighting major at the end of the period was his first fighting major since November 2018, when he was in Canadian juniors (his only fight before tonight).

-- Through two periods, four Caps did not have a shot attempt – McMichael, Sheary, Marcus Johansson, and Nic Dowd.

-- Ottawa held a 24-14 edge in faceoffs through 40 minutes.

Third period…

Washington killed off the remainder of the Ottawa power play to star the period to preserve the 2-2 tie to that point.

Ottawa took their first lead of the night when the Caps left the middle of the ice wide open for Shane Pinto to take a feed from Tyler Motte for a one-timer from between the hash marks at the 5:53 mark to make it 3-2, Senators.

The teams fought more or less evenly over the next 14 minutes, but Tyler Motte put it away with an empty net goal with 36.1 seconds left, and Alex deBrincat scored his first goal as a Senator into an empty net with eight seconds left for the 5-2 Senators win.

-- The Caps outshot the Sens, 12-7, after one period but were outshot, 37-12, in the last 40 minutes.

-- For the game, the Caps were out-attempted by Ottawa, 72-50.  Anthony Mantha led the Caps with four shots on goal; John Carlson had 11 shot attempts to lead the team.

-- Connor McMichael’s fighting major at the end of the second period was his first fighting major since November 2018, when he was in Canadian juniors (his only fight before tonight).

-- McMichael skated just 8:33 for the game (fewest minutes) and 11 shifts (fewest on the team), but he did have three blocked shots to tie for the team lead with Carlson and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

-- This was the Caps’ second multi-power play goal game of the season (two).  They had two in the 6-4 win over Vancouver in Washington in their previous contest.

-- Washington was charged with just six giveaways.  It seemed like more.  Ottawa was charge with 17.

-- McMichael and Nic Dowd were the only Caps without a shot attempt for the game.

-- The Caps were just 19-for-53 on draws (35.8 percent).  Joe Snively was the only Capital over 50 percent. He won the only faceoff he took.

-- Aliaksei Protas had six shifts in the first period but only eight in the last two periods.

-- Darcy Kuemper kept the Caps in the game after the first period, stopping 32 of 35 shots, many of them – too many – being quality chances for Ottawa.

In the end…

The Caps are 0-for-Canada in two games.  And in this one, the younger, speedier Senators wore down the Caps.  However, it might have been their ramping up their physical play after falling behind in the first period by a pair of goals.  Such is the case with Tom Wilson on the shelf for the moment.  Teams might be more inclined to take liberties, and it is left to a Connor McMichael, who is anything but a fighter, to step up for a teammate, as he did in the second period when the tide was turning against the Caps.  Although the Caps were missing important pieces in this game at forward, their weaknesses were laid bare as this game wore on.  Lacking the speed of the Senators, trying to integrate new parts on the fly, developing solid communication between defense and goaltender.  The Caps don’t have a lot of time to figure it out.  Even though Evgeny Kuznetsov will be returning from his one-game suspension, the Caps will still be lacking key pieces as they pick up the pieces from this game and they return home to host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

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