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Capitals beat Senators to complete series sweep

Wednesday, 01.16.2008 / 12:16 AM / Game of the Night

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Washington's Brent Johnson filled in for Olaf Kolzig and stopped 26 of 28 shots against the Ottawa Senators.
Watch highlights from the Cap's win: 700K
If the Ottawa Senators can take anything positive from Tuesday night, it’s the fact that they won’t see the Washington Capitals again this season.

Alexander Ovechkin broke a 2-2 tie with his 34th goal of the season 9:11 into the third period as the Caps completed a four-game season sweep of the Eastern Conference leaders with 4-2 victory at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night.

It was an impressive victory for the Caps, who learned hours earlier that top center Michael Nylander would miss the rest of the season with a torn left rotator cuff.

Despite the Capitals’ remarkable success against the Senators, coach Bruce Boudreau is pleased he won’t have to see the No. 1 team in the East again during this regular season.

''They're the best team in the league,” said Boudreau, whose team is now only five points off the Southeast Division lead. “We don't want to play them every night. Somehow, we've got their number. I don't know why it happens.''

Alexander Semin picked up the slack in Nylander’s absence, scoring two goals and adding an assist to help the Caps sweep the season series from Ottawa for the first time since the 1995-96 season. His unassisted tally at 15:26 of the second period erased a 2-1 deficit ( 700K ).

Defenseman Mike Green continues to be an offensive weapon for the Capitals, as he scored 13th goal of the season 47 seconds into the second period ( 700K ) to give Washington a 1-0 lead. With the Caps on a power play, Green took a nifty pass from the left corner by Viktor Kozlov and fired a shot past Ray Emery.

''There are teams in the league you play good against,'' Green said. ''Ottawa, we just seem to get excited to play them.''

But even without the services of star forward Dany Heatley, out with a separated shoulder, the Senators quickly went in front as Dean McAmmond and Wade Redden beat Brent Johnson 82 seconds apart. McAmmond made it a 1-1 game when his shot from the slot deflected off the stick of Washington defenseman John Erskine before going past Johnson at 13:41 ( 700K ). Redden gave the Sens the lead at 15:03 when he slammed home Patrick Eaves’ rebound for his sixth goal of the season ( 700K ).

Ovechkin — who will be relied on even more now that Nylander is done for the season — restored Washington’s lead midway through the third period. After Antoine Vermette was whistled for tripping, Ovechkin got to the front of the net and was able to rifle home Brooks Laich’s rebound past Emery to make it 3-2 ( 700K ).

''They're leading our (conference), so this is very important to win,'' Ovechkin said. ''But for us, it doesn't matter who we play. We have to win. Two points is two points, whether it's against Ottawa or anyone. We want to go up (in the standings).''

Semin saw to it that Washington got the two points by scoring his second goal of the night less than three minutes later ( 700K ).

The loss was Ottawa’s second straight, as it dropped a 3-1 decision on home ice to the New York Islanders on Sunday night. The Senators play again on Thursday night, when they host the struggling Carolina Hurricanes.

''Every game we lost (to Washington) this year, it's our own doing,'' Senators defenseman Chris Phillips said. ''Beating ourselves, making mistakes and they're capitalizing on them.''

Johnson also took advantage of a rare start between the pipes, as he finished with 26 saves. Ten of those stops came in the third period.

“They came right at us … we played a heck of a defensive game,” Johnson said. “Guys stood up beside one another and wanted to play. We needed a win.”

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

With this being the last year [at the Coliseum], we'd love to try to get back to the dance like we did against Pittsburgh and prove ourselves and go even further. It's an important year.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano