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Gonchar scores winner for Senators against Caps

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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.

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Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt's injury is day-to-day

Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt's injury is day-to-day

Nate Schmidt did not participate in the Capitals’ intrasquad scrimmage on Monday, a day after the defenseman suffered a lower body injury.

Associate coach Todd Reirden said Schmidt is day-to-day.  

“Lower body soreness for him,” Reirden said. “We’ll just continue to evaluate it every day. For him to go right into a scrimmage today wasn’t really worth it.”

Schmidt was injured when he got tangled up along the boards with a teammate during an intense battle drill on Sunday morning at  Kettler Capitals Iceplex. After lying on the ice for a moment, he limped to the dressing room and did not return.   

“We’ll see how he’s doing in the morning and go from there,” Reirden said after Monday’s practice.     

RELATED: Johansen,Vanecek to make NHL debut in preseaon opener

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No special treatment for the Capitals' World Cup stars

No special treatment for the Capitals' World Cup stars

All seven of the Capitals’ skaters who participated in the World Cup of Hockey eventually must take — and pass — the training camp conditioning test.

Why? Because, as associate coach Todd Reirden said, it's important to the team's decision makers that everyone, regardless of status, gets treated the same.

“I’m still making them do the skate test,” Reirden said with a chuckle. “And they want to do the skate test because they know that’s what Washington Capitals do.”

Team USA members Matt Niskanen and T.J. Oshie passed the test easily Monday morning. John Carlson will take the test Tuesday.

“They don’t want to have any special privilege or special exemption because of where they were playing,” Reirden added. “They know that everyone trains for that and it’s not fun. It’s important for them as team guys and leaders to do that. All of them are huge leaders for our team. It’s awesome to see."

Said Oshie: “Hey, we're part of the team. We got to get it done.”

Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov will take the test later this week.

The test requires players to skate from end-to-end 2 ½ times (while being timed) with a two-minute break in between reps, of which there are three. Nine players had to retake the test Saturday after failing it the day before.   

MORE CAPITALS: JOHANSEN, VANECEK TO MAKE NHL DEBUT IN PRESEASON OPENER