With the Washington Capitals securing the division title on Tuesday night, Thursday’s game against Ottawa started off predictably slow. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t any fireworks. For example: in the first period, when Matt Hendricks did some heavy-lifting and power-cleaned Erik Condra into the net.
Braden Holtby had a busy night in Thursday’s 3-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. He turned away 35 of the 37 shots he faced for a sterling .946 save percentage, but he was definitely overworked. That was made clear at 4:27 of the second period, when Erik Condra bowled him over.
Colin Greening celebrates his goal; Varly is not pleased. (Photo credit: Phillip MacCallum)
Well, where do even begin? Poor effort, non-existent offense, a goalie playing in his first game since the 20th of February and some, let’s just say, interesting officiating. Those four things combined make the blueprint for how you find a way to lose to the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
Nothing of interest happened in the first period, but there was another meaningless D.J. King fight just under three minutes into the game.
The Senators’ Colin Greening opening the scoring at 13:25 in the second frame. After a scramble in front of the net, Greening appeared to kick not only the puck, but Capitals ‘keeper Semyon Varlamov’s whole pad past the goal-line. The big wigs in Toronto took a look at it, but the play stood. 1-0 Sens.
Both teams registered eight shots on goal in the second period — with the Capitals having the best chance on an Alexander Semin breakaway — yet no one would tally.
Just over two minutes into the third stanza, Erik Condra pushed the Senators’ lead to two. After a Karl Alzner giveaway, Condra picked up Milan Michalek’s backhand no-look feed and wristed it pass Varlamov.
The real action, however, would happen just under 13 minutes into the period when Matt Bradley laid-out Patrick Wiercioch at the goal-line. Though the hit appeared to be a legal shoulder to chest hit, the Sens and referees took exception. First Ottawa’s Zach Smith jumped Bradley, forcing him to duel. Smith got the win in the ’bout, but correctly received an instigator penalty for his instigating. However, the refs called Bradley boarding, one thing the hit almost certainly was not as Bradley and Wiercioch were 12 feet from the dashers when the hit occurred. That would be it. Ho-hum. Sens blank Caps, 2-0.