Washington at Ottawa

Despite Semin's hat trick, Caps fall to Senators in battle of hot teams

CBSSports.com wire reports

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators outscored the high-powered Washington Capitals to take the Northeast Division lead.

Chris Phillips and Alexei Kovalev scored in the third period, and Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists in Ottawa's 6-5 victory against Washington on Thursday.

Brian Elliott made 19 saves to help the Senators win for the 13th time in 14 games.

"I didn't have my best game and obviously with shooters like that, if you give them some empty space they're going to find the back of the net," said Elliott, who has won 11 of his 12 consecutive starts. "We just did a good job of putting pucks in the back of their net."

Ottawa moved into the division lead with 74 points, one ahead of Buffalo, which lost 4-3 in overtime at Carolina.

"It was a great test for us," said Phillips, whose scored early in the third to put the Senators ahead to stay. "We played one of the top teams in the game right now and we stuck with them. We didn't get intimidated by their offensive ability. They obviously showed it again tonight and we didn't get down, we battled back and that's what's so great about this team right now."

The Capitals lost their second straight after a team-record 14-game winning streak. On Wednesday night in Montreal, the Canadiens beat Washington 6-5 in overtime.

"We played back to back so a couple of guys are tired so we made a couple of mistakes, especially me," said Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, who extended his points streak to nine games with an assist on Jeff Schultz's goal 6:39 into the second.

Chris Neil scored late in the second to draw Ottawa even at 4. Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson also scored for the Senators, up 3-1 after the first.

Alexander Semin scored his third goal of the game -- his 29th of the season -- 13:37 into the third to draw Washington within one.

Semin scored goals 42 seconds apart in the second to give the Capitals a 4-3 lead. Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Schultz also scored for Washington.

"They're never out of it," Spezza said. "Even once we were up 3-1 after one we knew we had a long night still ahead of us."

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was much less impressed with his team.

"It was an ugly display," Boudreau said. "I thought our defense was horrible and our goaltending was horrible. You're not going to win when you give up six goals and maybe five of them are bad ones and our 'D' can't make a play. It's awful."

Semyon Varlamov stopped 22 shots in his first game in more than two months.

"I don't think he was ready to play," Boudreau said. "He knew he was going to play. He's had 12 days of practice and a game under his belt. It's his responsibility to be ready. When you say, he's rusty, it's an excuse. And excuses aren't tolerated. The puck's going through his legs? He's been making that save since he was seven years old. Unless his memory banks have lost it.

"He should have made the saves. But the giveaways by our defensemen were more horrible than the goaltending, and I didn't think the goaltending was good."

Kovalev assisted on Phillips' seventh goal 2:23 into the third that put the Senators up 5-4. The Russian winger made it 6-4 with his 16th goal on a power play at 7:36.

Semin scored an unassisted goal with 6:23 remaining to make it a one-goal game.

"They've got a lot of weapons and it was good to come out on top," Phillips said.

Spezza had three points in the opening period, including his 11th goal in his last 11 games to open the scoring 6:03 in.

Michalek, who assisted on Kovalev's power-play goal in the third, scored his 20th to put the Senators up 2-0 at 10:09.

After Fleischmann drew Washington to 2-1 with his 18th goal 17 minutes into the first, Alfredsson restored Ottawa's two-goal lead when he put a shot from the right side past Varlamov for his 17th goal on a power play at 19:53.

Schultz scored his third goal 6:39 into the second. Semin scored at 15:17 and again at 15:59 as the Capitals scored three straight goals in the middle period to take a 4-3 lead. Neil drew Ottawa even at 4 with 1:56 left in the second.


  • Both teams' Olympians were introduced prior to the game, five each from Washington and Ottawa. Capitals headed to Vancouver include Varlamov, Ovechkin and Semin (Russia), Fleischmann (Czech Republic) and Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden). Alfredsson is making his fourth straight appearance for Sweden. Also going from the Senators are Michalek and Filip Kuba (Czech Republic), Jarkko Ruutu (Finland) and Anton Volchenkov (Russia).
  • Stephen Leach holds the record for the fastest two goals by a Capitals player. Leach scored twice in 10 seconds in a 7-3 victory against Pittsburgh on Nov. 23, 1990.
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Chris Neil skates around goalie Semyon Varlamov and flips a backhander in the net. (Getty Images)
Chris Neil skates around goalie Semyon Varlamov and flips a backhander in the net. (Getty Images)
Washington (41-13-6)1315
Ottawa  (35-22-4) «3126
Three Stars
A. Volchenkov

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 0
A. Semin

Goals: 3
Assist(s): 1
J. Spezza

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2

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Scoring Summary
06:03Jason Spezza (14), Wrist Shot. Assist: Kuba, Picard
10:09Milan Michalek (20), Wrist Shot. Assist: Spezza
17:00Tomas Fleischmann (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: Semin, Green
19:53Power Play - Daniel Alfredsson (17), Wrist Shot. Assist: Michalek, Spezza
06:39Jeff Schultz (3), Snap Shot. Assist: Ovechkin, Green
15:17Alexander Semin (27), Wrist Shot. Assist: Laich
15:59Alexander Semin (28), Snap Shot. Assist: Morrison, Laich
18:04Chris Neil (7), Backhand Shot. Assist: Winchester, Kuba
02:23Chris Phillips (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Kovalev
07:36Power Play - Alexei Kovalev (16), Slap Shot. Assist: Kuba, Michalek
13:37Alexander Semin (29), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
19:32Morrison, 2 min, Hooking
01:22Regin, 2 min, High-Sticking
02:54Fisher, 2 min, Hooking
07:00Ovechkin, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
Semyon Varlamov59:01226
Brian Elliott59:45195
Game Information
Attendance - 19682
Referees - Brad Meier, Brian Pochmara
Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Dan Schachte
Other Games
Bos 5 Final
TB 4
Edm 3 Final
LA 2
Buf 3 Final
Car 4
SJ 3 Final
Det 2
Dal 3 Final
Cal 1
Van 3 Final
Fla 0