Slump Continues For Capitals
OTTAWA (AP) Erik Karlsson is closing in on some team records in Ottawa. The Senators are closing in on a playoff spot.
Karlsson and Milan Michalek each had three points Wednesday and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2.
John Carlson and Mathieu Perreault scored for the Capitals, who have lost three straight. Alex Ovechkin missed the game with a lower body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
“It could be something you look back to after the season, but right now it doesn’t really matter that much,” Karlsson said. “I think we have 70 or 72 points in the standings and right now that’s what matters.
“We have to keep getting two points and try not to give away any.”
Karlsson finished with a goal and two assists to set a new franchise record for assists by a defenseman in a season with 47. With 60 points, he’s just three away from tying the team record for points by a defenseman set by Norm Maciver in 1992-93.
The Senators, with 72 points, have a firm grip on seventh place in the Eastern Conference, seven points ahead of Toronto and Winnipeg. They’re also two points out of fourth place.
The 21-year-old now has seven points in his last two games. His 60 points on the season give him a 20-point lead on Florida’s Brian Campbell for the NHL lead in scoring by a defenseman.
Michalek added two goals and an assist, while Chris Phillips, with his fourth goal in six games, also scored for Ottawa. Craig Anderson made 33 saves.
Nick Foligno scored into an empty net for Ottawa.
Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 11 shots before being replaced midway through the second period byMichal Neuvirth. He finished with 14 saves. Washington has been outscored 12-3 on its losing streak, and has lost six of its last seven.
Ottawa, meanwhile, has outscored its opponents 21-4 in its last four games.
“We’ve gotten back to that work ethic based game that we play 200 feet for 60, 65 minutes and we kind of found ourselves again,” MacLean said. “We’re getting contributions from everyone offensively and the structure of our team play has been very good and the attention to detail in the defensive zone is getting better.
“As a result our goals against is getting better and we’re creating way more offense out of the way we play defense.”
Ottawa jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the back of Karlsson.
The smooth-skating defenseman opened the scoring at the nine-minute mark of the first with a shot that beat Vokoun through the legs. Karlsson then fed Michalek five minutes later and he made a great move aroundDennis Wideman before beating Vokoun from in close.
“(Karlsson) is one of our best players,” Anderson said. “He brings it every night. He’s found that consistency in his game and we can count on him for big minutes offensively as well as defensively right now.”
Michalek added his second of the night on a deflection off Karlsson’s point shot on the power play early in the second. Michalek’s 27th goal of the season set a new career high.
“It’s nice, but I want to keep going,” Michalek said. “It’s a long season and I’ve had my struggles, but hopefully it’s back now. I have my confidence and hopefully it’s going to keep going now.”
Vokoun’s night came to an end after Phillips made it 4-0 on the power play midway through the period.
Despite being in a huge hole, Washington showed some jump in the third period to cut the lead to 4-2.
“I don’t think we were really that bad,” Washington forward Troy Brouwer said. “We got behind real quick on a couple miscues in the D-zone, but I thought we were able to battle back a little bit. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole to come back up.”
Carlson finally got the Capitals on the board with a power-play goal early in the period and Perreault made it 4-2 as the puck went off his face and past Anderson.
This was the final regular season meeting between the two teams. Washington took the first three, but has 63 points on the season, placing them 10th in the conference.
“You can take things from it, but at the end of the day we needed to have a better start and have a better effort and get two points because that’s all that matters right now,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to get points to start climbing the standings.”
NOTES: With an assist on Karlsson’s goal, Jason Spezza extended his point streak (seven goals, nine assists) to seven games. … The Senators were without C Peter Regin (shoulder, out for season), C Jesse Winchester(concussion, indefinitely). D Matt Carkner and C Zenon Konopka were healthy scratches. … In addition to Ovechkin, the Capitals were without D Tom Poti (strained groin, indefinitely), C Nicklas Backstrom (concussion, indefinitely). Ds John Erskine and Roman Hamrlik were healthy scratches.