AlexOvechkinOttawa

Photo: Marc DesRosiers

The Capitals absorbed two tough losses in the past two days. Alex Ovechkin, in the middle of his longest goal drought of season, seems frustrated. He took it out on the referees after Monday’s contest in Ottawa, which Washington lost 3-1.

“To be honest with you, tonight I think both teams play well, but four guys out there didn’t do their job,” he told reporters, indicating the officiating staff of Brad Meier, Jean Hebert, Mark Wheler, and Pierre Racicot. “I think the guys celebrate New Year’s too early right before the game.”

“It was embarrassing to see,” Ovechkin added.

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Festival of (Red) Lights: Sens Edge Caps 6-4

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Blame Rachel Cohen for this.

Blame Rachel Cohen for this.

[Note: This recap is Chanukah-themed tonight. Why? Because there's literally no one on the Internet right now.]

Last week, there was only one way to describe the play of the Washington Capitals: shameful. After winning three straight, the Capitals allowed seven unanswered goals at Verizon Center, before showing some life late against Montreal. Saturday’s game, though, was markedly different. The Capitals still lost, but they put 50 shots on goal, Washington’s highest total since 2010. On the first night of Chanukah, the Caps looked to continue that output against the lowly Ottawa Senators. They did — at first.

It started with a sublime play by yelling person-cum-Jewish pun Michael Latta, who skated into the offensive zone, got tripped, and then pole vaulted over a Sens defender. The loose puck went to Eric Fehr, who unleashed a lovely wrist shot to put the Caps on the board. Ottawa tied it up less than a minute and a half  later, however, when Bobby Ryan tipped one past Braden Holtby on the man-advantage. However, Marcus Johansson whacked in a loose puck in front on the power play just 38 seconds after the Sens tally, giving the Caps a 2-1 lead. BUT WAIT! A mere 47 seconds later, Brooks Laich backhanded home a loose puck in front. Four goals in under five minutes. Whew!

The second period was all Sens. Chris Philips put them within one with a blast on the power play, before Colin Greening tied the game at three.

In the final frame Mika Zibanejad added another PP tally. Ugh. The game looked hopeless until John Carlson tied it late. Prepare to cry, though, because just over a minute later Zach Smith beat Mike Green and Nate Schmidt to win the ballgame. Ryan added an empty netter. Sad face. Vodka. Sens edge Caps 6-4

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Chris Neil speared

At 8:12 of the second period on Wednesday, Ottawa’s Chris Neil was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The ref’s decision was that Neil embellished after a phantom hit by Alex Ovechkin.

What actually happened was somewhat different. Neil plowed Ovechkin in the corner before the hit in question. Ovechkin recovered from and skated off in tandem with Neil. As Ovechkin accelerrated, his stick went into Neil’s midsection. Kinda hard. And by midsection, I mean yambag. And by yambag, I mean scrotum.

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Photo credit: Adrian Wyld

Doug Johnson of PuckBuddys writes for Russian Machine. Tweet tweet.

Anyone who’s had the misfortune to spend time in Ottawa has had the quintessential Canadian city experience: clean, cultured, and quietly disappointing. All the maple doughnuts and Labatt’s in the world can’t hide the fact that Ottawa is as appealing as lap dance from Marcus Bachmann. Puzzlingly, everyone seems mostly OK with this… albeit in a polite, deferential way. Ottawantarians seem to take civic pride in their shared, outstanding blahness. Just look the Senators.

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