Saturday, March 26, 2011 1:44 a.m.
CAPITALS PAGE CAPITALS VIDEOS
By Joe Beninati
OTTAWA -- Goaltending is so critical to any teams success, we all know that, but when a team has the utmost confidence in its netminder, thats when they become dangerous.
The Ottawa Senators know they have a good one in Craig Anderson, they paid handsomely to extend his contract, and he keeps giving them signs that he will be worth the money.
The Caps didnt generate nearly enough offensive attack tonight, especially at even strength. There was one second period power play where I was convinced they would strike pay-dirt on Anderson, but he made two exceptional stops on Alex Semin.
Semyon Varlamov looked strong in his return to the goal crease. The second Ottawa goal from Eric Condra was a bit on the soft side, but aside from that his work was sharp considering he had played since Feb 20.
The Senators had lots of things go right for them tonight, including several favorable calls from the officials.
There was a blatant high-sticking call on Senator defenseman David Hale that was missed. Hale accidentally clipped Matt Hendricks near the right eye and drew blood, which is normally an automatic four-minute penalty. The officials actually sent Hale to the penalty box, then huddled up and reversed their call after a quick conference. They deemed the blood came from a skate cut. Video replays would show that to be the wrong assessment.
The Senators started the scoring in the second period. With their season destined to miss the playoffs, Ottawa has so many youngsters in their line-up and one of them converted from close range.
Colin Greening went hard to goal and a centering pass rattled off both skates before it squeaked past Varlamov. The play was reviewed for close to four minutes in Toronto, but there was insufficient evidence to overrule the call on the ice.
The Sens would get some insurance in the third period. Condra opened up in the high slot and snapped a shot through the pads of Varlamov. It wasnt a bullet by any stretch, but it caught Varlamov in between steps to get out on the angle, and the damage was done.
The Caps figure to be greatly challenged Saturday night in Montreal. When they dont have Alex Ovechkin, Jason Arnott, and Mike Green in the line-up, you assume it will be more difficult to score. Factor in the note that the Canadiens were drilled Thursday night in Boston, and you just know the Habs will come out flying.
Washington has won three of the five games on this two-week stay away from Verizon Center. It would be quite the triumph for them to finish the road trip with a big win at Bell Centre. They beat the Canadiens last week in their own barn with great hustle. Braden Holtby was the goalie for Washington that night, and with Michal Neuvirth ill and Semyon Varlamov just coming back off the injured list, dont be surprised if Holtby gets to go again in the nets.