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Senators blow lead, then defeat Capitals in OT

by Chris Stevenson /

OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators nearly let a big win, and potentially their hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, get away. Kyle Turris made sure they didn't.

The Senators were unable to turn a three-goal first-period lead into a regulation victory, but Turris scored on a breakaway at 3:14 of overtime to give Ottawa a 4-3 win against the Washington Capitals at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.

The victory kept the Senators (40-26-12) three points behind the Boston Bruins and the Detroit Red Wings in the fight for third place in the Atlantic Division; the Bruins and Red Wings each won in a shootout Saturday. The three teams are also battling for a wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The Senators led 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the game. But the Capitals dominated for most of the final 50 minutes to force the game past regulation. However, Turris gave the Senators the win when he poked the puck away in the Ottawa zone, raced in alone and beat Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby.

"We got off to the start we wanted, played really well and we were aggressive on pucks, and then we started sitting back again," Turris said. "It's something we've got to talk about and work on moving forward. We battled and got the points we needed."

Clarke MacArthur and Mika Zibanejad scored during 5-on-3 advantages, and rookie Mark Stone scored his 21st of the season for the Senators, who won their third game in a row, two in overtime and one in a shootout.

Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond made 29 saves and is 17-1-1 as a starter in the NHL.

"They're a really good team and I thought they fought back for everything they got," Hammond said. "It's hard to play hold the lead against a really good team like that.

"We were really good in the first period and then we just kind of got away from our 'A' game a little bit and let them get back into it. Fortunately, we were able to get the big goal in overtime."

Marcus Johansson, Mike Green and Troy Brouwer scored for the Capitals (43-25-11), whose three-game winning streak ended. The Capitals dropped to third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the New York Islanders, who defeated the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Holtby, starting his 22nd consecutive game, made 24 saves.

The Senators are at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday, and the Capitals visit the Detroit Red Wings.

The Capitals completed their comeback at 15:50 of the third period on Brouwer's 21st of the season. The puck was chipped past Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson in the neutral zone and Brouwer skated in and beat Hammond to the stick side to make it 3-3.

The Capitals cut the deficit to 3-2 at 7:18 of the third period on Green's ninth goal of the season. With Brouwer, who was a presence all night around the Ottawa net, battling with defenseman Eric Gryba in the crease, Green skated in and put a shot past Hammond.

The Capitals scored the only goal of the second period and held a significant edge in play. Down 11-3 in shots 10 minutes into the game, the Capitals outshot the Senators 16-9 during the next 30 minutes.

Johansson scored his 19th goal of the season at 6:26 of the second, beating Hammond high to the glove side with Brouwer screening the goaltender.

The Capitals could have clinched a playoff berth with a regulation victory. But Capitals coach Barry Trotz was more focused on the point his team earned rather than the one that got away in OT.

"I take the positive of the point," he said. "We were down 3-0 to a team that's been really good for a long time here. I take the positive out. We could have left here with nothing.

"Obviously I'd like to get the extra point and get it done and go from there, but it didn't happen when we went to overtime. We've still got to win some games. It'll be a big test for us the next three games."

Green said Washington's problem was its slow start, not allowing an overtime goal.

"We showed character coming back there," Green said. "[We were] a little undisciplined, which caused us to get down early and have to force a lot of our plays to come back. I thought it was a good challenge for us to step up and come back. We did a good job in that sense, but our start needed to be better, for sure."

Stone opened the scoring at 3:31 of the first period. It was his fourth goal and 12th point in his past 10 games.

The Capitals then paid a big price for their parade to the penalty box. The Senators' power play was 6-for-55 in the past 17 games but took advantage of three Washington penalties that resulted in overlapping 5-on-3 advantages.

Eric Fehr was called for hooking MacArthur with 50 seconds left in Joel Ward's interference penalty at 7:17. Holtby then swiped the puck out of his crease and into the protective netting 28 seconds after Fehr was sent off and was given a delay of game penalty.

MacArthur scored his 15th of the season at 9:03 with a shot to the glove side, and with the Capitals still down two men, Zibanejad scored his 20th of the season at 9:56 to increase the lead to 3-0.

Zibanejad became the fifth Senator to score 20 goals this season joining Stone, Karlsson, Turris and Mike Hoffman.

Karlsson's assist on MacArthur's goal was the 300th point of his NHL career. He has played 393 games.

Trotz said the Capitals didn't panic despite the early deficit.

"We were playing OK," he said. "We just ended up taking penalties. We just mishandled situations, took penalties. Guys got their sticks in the wrong place, put one over the glass. I mean, it was sort of what else could happen? They were both extended power plays and they executed on both of them.

"The whole second [period] I thought we were by far the better team in terms of zone time and chances. When we made it 3-2, I felt we were going to come out with at least a point and maybe two."

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