Capitals 2, Senators 1

The Washington Capitals were not particularly happy about the

way they played after their 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on

Saturday night.

Washington got first-period goals from Marcus Johansson and

Nicklas Backstrom to stay unbeaten on the season, but it was Ottawa

who seemed to take the momentum starting with the second

period.

The Senators outshot the Capitals 26-12 over the final two

periods, but were unable to come away with a goal.

”We got a little sloppy. We didn’t play as hard as we did in

the first period, for some reason,” Johansson said. ”We’re lucky

to come out with a win today.”

Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun had 33 saves in his third

straight start to preserve the win against a Senators team that was

coming off a 7-1 loss at home to Colorado on Thursday.

”I suspected it was going to be a really tough game,” Vokoun

said. ”I have been on that side before, what they are going

through. You know you’re coming back and you’re angry, the coaches

are angry and yelling at the players. Everybody comes out and gives

their best effort.”

Peter Regin scored his first goal of the season for Ottawa,

which has lost all three of its road games to open the season and

four of five overall.

”It’s just frustrating we don’t get a point out of that game,”

Senators forward Jason Spezza said. ”We’ve got to keep trying to

chip away and get some wins.”

Ottawa’s aggression continued to the final minutes, when it

pulled goalie Alex Auld and had a few offensive chances, only to be

stopped by Vokoun.

”In the clutch we did what we had to do,” Washington coach

Bruce Boudreau said. ”Not every game are you going to be

beautiful. The other team wants to win too.”

Backstrom scored his first goal of the season at 8:47 in the

first period to give Washington a 1-0 lead. Backstrom took a

cross-ice pass from Alexander Semin and slapped in the power-play

goal from the right side.

Johansson put the Capitals up 2-0 with a wraparound goal 12

minutes into the first. Johansson took the puck at the blue line

and charged down the left side and came around behind the net to

slip the puck past Auld.

Ottawa got on the scoreboard with 26 seconds left in the first

period. Regin shot high over Vokoun, who was sprawled on the ice

after diving for a loose puck.

”A goal in the last minute, probably against our top line, is a

shot in the arm. Probably if it doesn’t go in they’re feeling a

little bit down,” said Mike Knuble, who assisted on both

Washington goals.

”I think it sparked them a little bit, and they came out much

stronger in the second period.”

Washington held the offensive advantage in the first period,

taking the lead and outshooting Ottawa 14-8. But the tone shifted

starting in the second period, when the Senators outshot Washington

12-4.

”We’re disappointed with the outcome,” Ottawa coach Paul

MacLean said. ”I thought we deserved a way better fate with the

way that we played.”

This is the third time in Capitals history they’ve started a

season with four straight wins, with the others coming in the

1991-92 and 1997-98 seasons.

This was the Capitals’ first win in regulation this season, but

the main theme in the team’s locker room after the game was a

continued need for improvement.

”It’s October. That’s not going to float – you’re not going to

want to see that in February, March, April,” Knuble said. ”In

October it’s fine. You work on it and we’ll be better

Tuesday.”

Notes: Capitals G Michael Neuvirth missed the second straight

game with a lower-body injury. The Capitals recalled G Dany

Sabourin from the Hershey Bears of the AHL before the game to be

the backup goaltender. … Washington D Roman Hamrlik played in his

1,315th NHL game, most of any Czech player. … Ottawa D Sergei

Gonchar left the game in the first period after blocking a shot and

did not return. The team said he had a bruised foot.