Monday, October 11, 2010 10:43 p.m.
By Joe Beninati
It wasnt the most vicious shot Alex Ovechkin has ever uncorked, but it was enough to provide another dramatic overtime game-winner for the Capitals. Ovechkins franchise-leading 8th career goal in extra time skimmed through Pascal Leclaire with the Senators and Caps just 32 seconds away from needing a shootout.
Up until that moment, Leclaire had been solid in goal for Ottawa. He didnt have to be spectacular because his teammates had done a nice job of controlling the play through regulation. The Sens have failed to win in their three games this season, but this kind of effort had to be more to Head Coach Cory Cloustons liking.
Michal Neuvirth continues to deliver DC very strong goaltending. Heading into this season I was a firm believer that the 1 netminding role would go to Semyon Varlamov. While the Russian is on the sidelines healing a groin injury, Neuvirth has built an impressive candidacy to unseat him. His composure is what stands out to me. Hes always positionally sound, but its his calm demeanor that breathes confidence into his teammates. When your goalie is making the key saves at the right moments in a game, that gives the team that extra boost to know they can go for it at the other end.
Alex Semin just lights up when he sees Ottawa on the schedule. For some strange reason the Sens decided to leave him unguarded in the first period and the talented winger burned Leclaire upstairs from in tight.
The first half of this hockey game was played at a quick tempo. Ottawa has a good compliment of skilled forwards and they earned a bunch of power plays as a result, but Washingtons improved, more-aggressive penalty killing unit has started this new season perfectly.
No one was going to stop Jarkko Ruutus tip-in in the second period. He made a great effort to just get to the front of the net for a mid-air redirect.
Eric Fehr is truly a handful in front of the enemy net. His lead goal in the second was put on a platter by Matt Hendricks, who is settling in well with his new club.
The Ryan Shannon game-tying goal was pretty. He gave John Carlson the slip moving laterally then threw it back against the grain to beat Neuvirth.
Washington has had Ottawas number here at Verizon Center. Theyve won eight of the last nine in DC against the Sens, and Ovechkin would see them to the winners circle tonight. He came down the wing and adjusted his shooting angle ever so slightly before beating Leclaire through the leg pads. The Ottawa netminder hung his head immediately afterwards, a dead giveaway he felt like he should have made that save.
The New York Islanders come to town Wednesday, fresh from beating the archrival Rangers today. Blake Comeau had two goals for the Isles who were missing young gun John Tavares. Tavares suffered a concussion over the weekend against Dallas and its uncertain if he will be available Wednesday. Same can be said for the Caps Tom Poti who did not dress tonight due to an undisclosed (for now) injury and for Matt Bradley who was lost to an injury during the first period of the game with Ottawa.
Check us out Wednesday night on CSN!