Senators Win 2-1(OT) Over Capitals; Clinch Playoff Spot

Senators fans were waiting for this one ALL DAY….not only was this a game their team simply had to win to get in to the playoffs….it marked the return of the reigning Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson, who the organization had lost on February 13th with a deep cut of the Achilles tendon.  An extraordinary recovery from an injury that should have taken 4-6 months to heal.

Was it going to be easy? Heck no. Ottawa was playing one of the hottest teams in the league in the Capitals and only had won 1 game in Washington since 2006.  Lucky for them, this contest meant absolutely nothing to the Capitals, other than to continue their strong play.

After Craig Anderson made 3 or 4 excellent saves in the first to preserve the tie, including one on an in-tight Mike Green, the Senators were able to get on the scoreboard first in the second.  And of course, Erik Karlsson was in on it.  Karlsson’s point shot was tipped by Jakob Silfverberg directly in front of Michael Neuvirth and it was 1-0 Senators.

Midway through the third, Chris Phillips’ attempt to swat down a Marcus Johannson pass failed, allowing Alex Ovechkin to blow right by him and deke Craig Anderson to tie the game.  It was Ovechkin’s 32nd goal of the season and seemed to put a bit of life back into the Capitals.

But, it all came down to overtime.

While still on the power-play after Mike Ribeiro was given a roughing penalty late in the third, Sergei Gonchar took a slapshot from the point that snuck by Neuvirth and clinched a playoff spot for the Senators.

A deserving reward for a club that perservered through a season of devastating injuries.

Erik Karlsson’s return was a resounding success.  His stats on the night: 2 assists, +1, 8 shots, 1 blocked shot, 27 shifts for 27:11 TOI. Incredible.

Paul MacLean (audio)

https://vr.shapeservices.com/listen.php?hash=076e84bf816806a026648a878888e433ac1344e8dd50b13ad

Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson & Paul MacLean (video – Senstv)

http://video.senators.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=242475

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