Sure, the Western Conference is far more tumultuous than the East, but that doesn’t mean that things cannot change in a single evening. And yes, beating the Ottawa Senators shouldn’t be a cause for celebration, but the Washington Capitals will gladly take any win they can get after losing 8 in a row (0-6-2 in that stretch).
Washington 3, Ottawa 2
Perhaps the best thing about this win was that the Capitals finally came back from a deficit after occasionally shrinking under the pressure of being behind by a goal or two.
Ryan Shannon and Chris Kelly gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead after one period, but a three goal second gave Washington all they needed to win. Mathieu Perreault was the unlikely hero, scoring the Caps’ first and game-winning goals while Eric Fehr also scored for Washington.
Michael Neuvirth earned his 13th win of the season with a 24 for 26 save performance while Brian Elliott kept Ottawa in it, setting aside 31 of the 34 Capitals’ attempts.
While 10th-place Senators are seeing their playoff hopes fade, the Capitals regained everything they lost on Saturday. They’re back to being the second seed in the East and the top team in the Southeast Division, even if those leads are slim because they’ve played more games than their peers.
Still, for a team that was reeling under the HBO spotlight, any win is a beautiful win. They’ll take what they can get.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
The Ottawa Senators cannot pin all of their troubles on missing their No. 1 center, yet it probably feels like a huge relief to get him back.
After missing six games with his latest injury, Kyle Turris is in the lineup as the Senators take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Again, it’s not all a matter of missing Turris, but the Senators went 1-5-0 during his six-game absence. They’ve really been falling since late December, to be honest.
Will Turris be enough to stop the bleeding? Perhaps to an extent, but the Senators are in for a serious battle if they hope to fight through the East bubble.
Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.
Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.
Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.
Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:
From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.
Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?
The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.
That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.
If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.