Instant analysis of the Capitals’ 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators Thursday night at Verizon Center:
How it happened: Former Caps defenseman Sergei Gonchar blasted a power-play slapper over Michal Neuvirth’s right shoulder 47 seconds into overtime for the winner. Sens right wing Jakob Silfverberg tipped an Erik Karlsson shot past Neuvirth 12:35 into the second period to give the Sens the early lead, but Alex Ovechkin tied it with 8:31 gone in the third period when he caught a pass from Marcus Johansson in full speed, blew past defenseman Chris Phillips and beat Craig Anderson with a backhander for his 32nd goal of the season and first in three games against the Senators.
What it means: The Senators clinched their second straight playoff berth with the win. It will be their third playoff appearance in four years. They got in last season as the eighth seed.
Now what: The Capitals still don’t know who their first-round opponent will be. The Winnipeg Jets were eliminated with Ottawa’s victory, so the eight playoff teams in the East are set. But the Caps still could play the Leafs, Islanders, Rangers or Senators, all battling for the bottom four seeds.