Gonchar scores winner for Senators against Caps


Gonchar scores winner for Senators against Caps

OTTAWA (AP) Sergei Gonchar scored on the power play with 2:30 left in regulation as the Ottawa Senators battled back from a sluggish start to defeat the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Tuesday.

Jim O'Brien and Milan Michalek also scored for the Senators (4-1-1), who got 31 saves from Craig Anderson.

Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks scored for the Capitals (1-4-1). Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 shots in taking the loss for Washington, which blew a 2-0 lead.

Gonchar's winner came after Erik Karlsson wove through the Capitals' defense on a man advantage before finding his partner, who fired a one-timer that deflected of Hendricks in front and past Neuvirth with Ottawa's Chris Neil screening on the play.

Then with time winding down and Washington pressing for the tie, Anderson made a great save on Alex Ovechkin before robbing Mike Ribeiro from in tight.

Trailing 2-0 late in the second period and looking for a spark, Senators coach Paul MacLean chose to double-shift the one line that showed any jump.

The gamble paid off as O'Brien, who celebrated his 24th birthday, cut the lead in half with 1:23 remaining in the period on a setup from Erik Conda and AHL call-up Mika Zibanejad.

The Senators then quickly tied the game at 2:20 of the third. Kyle Turris won a faceoff in the offensive zone and pushed the puck ahead to Michalek, who scooped it passed a surprised Neuvirth.

Playing without Jason Spezza because of an undisclosed upper body injury, the Senators struggled and the Capitals owned much of the momentum in the first period and jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

A turnover by Guillaume Latendresse midway through the period at the Senators' blue-line allowed Wojtek Wolski to jump on the puck and feed Brouwer, who caught Anderson moving the wrong way.

Washington then made it 2-0 as Hendricks tipped Jay Beagle's shot home.

The Senators continued to struggle in the second and seemed incapable of breaking through the Capitals' forecheck as Washington pinned the home side in its own end for nearly two minutes, leading to a chorus of boos from the 19,267 on hand at Scotiabank Place.

Notes: LW Kaspars Daugavins and D Andre Benoit were healthy scratches for the Senators. Apart from Spezza, D Jared Cowen (hip, out for season), D Mike Lundin (finger, two weeks) also missed out. ... C Brooks Laich (strained groin, out indefinitely), D Jack Hillen (upper body, out indefinitely) sat for Washington with injuries, while C Marcus Johansson, D Tom Poti and D Roman Hamrlik were healthy scratches.

Trotz admits his leash with Orlov is short


Trotz admits his leash with Orlov is short

For 82 games this season Capitals coach Barry Trotz exhibited patience with defenseman Dmitry Orlov, allowing him to work his way back into game shape and through mistakes after missing an entire season because of wrist surgery.

Now, that patience is being tested.

Trotz benched Orlov for the second half of Thursday night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Penguins after the 24-year-old Russian allowed forward Nick Bonino to get past him and set up Pens defenseman Ben Lovejoy for a game-tying goal. 

Orlov saw just one shift after that goal and played a team-low 5:44, by far his lowest ice time of the season.

“I didn’t like his one-on-one play in a couple situations,” Trotz said. “One on (Phil) Kessel on the wall and obviously, one in the middle (on Lovejoy’s goal). He’s got to do a better job. Orly knows that as well. We’ll move forward from that.”


Whether that means in the direction of Mike Weber or Taylor Chorney remains to be seen. Orlov played in all 82 regular season games and has played in all seven playoff games. But Trotz acknowledged his fuse with Orlov grows shorter this time of year.

“I said this going into the playoffs, it’s about getting to four (wins),” Trotz said. “You don’t have time to wait for people to get on board. You don’t have time for guys to get their play up. You might give them a little bit of room, but the leash is a lot shorter in the playoffs than it is in the regular season. When you want to be the first one to four or the first one not to lose four, you don’t have as much time, so your thought process is probably a little different.”
On Lovejoy’s goal, Orlov said he made a mistake by not defending Bonino better with his stick, adding he was not trying to step up and make a hit on him. He simply didn’t defend him tight enough.

“I can’t lose 1-on-1 play and they score,” said Orlov, who has just two points and is a minus-6 in his last 18 games. “I can’t do mistake. I kind of back up and take away my stick, and that’s why he got me. After, I fell, so I can’t recover.”

Orlov said he hopes Trotz will keep him in the lineup for Game 2 on Saturday night when the series resumes in Chinatown.

“For sure, every player wants to play,” Orlov said. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen right now, but I hope, yeah, that I will play.”

If the Caps alter their third defense pairing, it will be interesting if they go with the puck-moving Chorney or defensive-minded Weber to play alongside Nate Schmidt, who logged 12:13 and was a minus-2 in Game 1.

Chorney replaced Brooks Orpik and played with Orlov in Games 4 and 5 of the first round, both losses. Weber replaced Chorney on the third pairing in the Caps’ series-clinching win in Game 6 in Philadelphia.


John Carlson reacts to news of Bruce Boudreau firing


John Carlson reacts to news of Bruce Boudreau firing

Bruce Boudreau was John Carlson’s first NHL coach back in the 2009-10 season and on Friday the Caps’ 26-year-old defenseman said he was unhappy to see Boudreau fired as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.

“That’s just the nature of the business, I guess,” Carlson said. “You never want to see a coach get fired. It’s a business. I don’t make those calls, don’t make those decisions, don’t break down those games.”

In the NHL, Boudreau has a career record of 1-7 in Game 7s in the playoffs, including four straight Game 7 defeats with the Ducks, who hired him two days after the Capitals fired him on Nov. 28, 2011.

Many believe Boudreau will get a third opportunity to coach in the NHL, perhaps in Ottawa or Minnesota, where the Senators and Wild are seeking to fill head coaching vancancies. 

“He’s a great coach,” Carlson said. “You never want to see a guy get fired. That’s for sure.”

Boudreau has a regular season record of 409-192-80, but is 41-40 in the playoffs.

Capitals playing preseason game in Kansas City


Capitals playing preseason game in Kansas City

If the NHL has any intention of putting an expansion franchise in Kansas City, the Capitals might be able to give the league a scouting report.

The Capitals announced on Friday they will face the St. Louis Blues in Kansas City on Oct. 5 in a preseason game at the new Sprint Center.

Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie is scheduled to face his former team in the game. Oshie was selected by the Blues in the first round, 24th overall, in the 2005 NHL Draft. Oshie appeared in 443 games with the Blues from 2008-15, registering 310 points (110g, 200a) and 239 penalty minutes. The Everett, Wash., native was acquired by the Capitals on July 2, 2015.

Kansas City was last awarded an NHL team the same year the Capitals entered the league in 1974. But the Kansas City Scouts lasted just two seasons in Kemper Arena before moving to Denver as the Colorado Rockies.

Tickets for the Oct. 5 game will go on sale on Tuesday, May 3 at noon at SprintCenter.com, the Price Chopper Box Office at Sprint Center or by phone at 888-929-7849. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Sprint Center Group Sales at 816-929-7177 or by emailing grouptickets@sprintcenter.com.

The Capitals will host the Blues at Verizon Center on Oct. 3. The full NHL schedule is expected to come out in late June.