Breaking News

T.J. Oshie goal, Braden Holtby shutout highlight Washington Capitals' 1-0 win

By Don Brennan, The Sports Xchange

Washington Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77 )celebrates his goal with Washington Capitals center Marcus Johansson (90) and Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19). Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
| License Photo
OTTAWA -- T.J. Oshie scored on the Washington Capitals' first shot and it turned out to be the only goal of the game Saturday night.
Braden Holtby took care of the rest, making 30 saves as the flu-bitten Capitals (25-9-5) extended their winning streak to five games by defeating the Ottawa Senators 1-0 at Canadian Tire Centre.
The Senators (20-14-4) have just one point in their last four games.
"We were a little worried about this game and going forward here," said Capitals coach Barry Trotz, who added his team has had a "crash course on styles" in preparing for its fifth consecutive victim. "We had a couple of tough goes, we had a lot of guys fight a little bit of the flu and hopefully we're getting through that. We were just worried about energy levels because yesterday was not a good day for a few of our guys."
Trotz offered no update on Oshie, who was favoring his left shoulder when he went to the dressing room after taking a hit from Dion Phaneuf early in the second period.
Oshie, who missed seven games earlier in the season with a left shoulder injury, returned before the period was over but was cross-checked by Phaneuf in a battle in front of the net and did not play in the third period.
Mike Condon made 19 saves in his 15th consecutive game between the Ottawa pipes, the first for the team since a 2-1 loss in Washington on New Year's Day.
"We did a great job defensively," Condon said. "Limiting that team to three goals in the last two games is something to be proud of. We had some good chances last game against them, thought we had some good chances tonight.
"I think it's just one of those periods where we're a little snakebitten, but these things happen over the course of a year. We have a lot of skill in this room and I'm confident we'll turn it around."
Oshie's goal, his 13th of the season, was a one-timer over Condon's catching mitt after he was set up by a soft backhand pass from Nicklas Backstrom.
The assist was the 500th of Backstrom's career, making him just the 10th Swede to reach that plateau in the NHL.
"I think it's something that has been built up for the last couple of weeks ... it feels good that I got it done so we can stop talking about it," Backstrom said. "I got a big congrats from the guys here too. That was nice.
"It feels a lot better when you're winning than if I had done it and we lose. I'll remember this. It was a tough game, but we pulled it off. That's all that matters."
Holtby was happy to witness Backstrom's achievement.
"That was pretty cool to be a part of that," he said. "He did it pretty quickly. It's been amazing to watch through the years and play with him. Five hundred and there will be a lot more."
About Backstrom, Trotz added, "He's real special. The guys all love him in the room and what he does for our hockey team."
On Saturday, what he did was set up the only successful offensive push.
"It was kind of a boring game for both teams," Washington's Alex Ovechkin said. "Not many chances, a couple of posts. We want to take what they give us and we protected the lead.
"The penalty killers do a great job, there were lots of blocks and (Holtby) was outstanding again. We just do our thing and collecting the points."
The Senators could use some points themselves, as their hold on a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is slipping. Their last win was Dec. 22 against Anaheim, with no chance of breaking out of the slump while spending the week leading up to the Capitals' visit on their bye.
"It's always a concern when you're not on the ice and have a long break like that, but I thought we were pretty sharp, considering," Senators winger Zack Smith said. "One mental lapse, structure-wise, on the goal. A team like that is going to capitalize.
"But I thought we played pretty good for the most part. Lots of shots, lots of chances. Holtby is one of the best goalies in the league. So all in all, it was a pretty good effort."
Holtby did have a lot of help. The Capitals blocked 21 shots, giving them 44 in the past two meeting with Ottawa.
"He made a couple of great saves, and when he didn't we hit the wood," defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We played a good team, a top team in the Eastern league, and I think we can definitely play with them. I feel the game could of took a couple of different turns if we just get that one goal.
"We've got to keep moving forward and we definitely felt like we had the opportunity to win this game, even though unfortunately we didn't. That's what we've got to build on and not stay in the past."
NOTES: Senators RW Bobby Ryan was a late scratch. He participated in the morning skate. ... Senators G Craig Anderson worked out with the team on Friday, but he is not expected back in the lineup until late January or early February. Anderson, whose wife Nicholle is battling cancer, hasn't played since Dec. 5. ... The Capitals scratched D Taylor Chorney, who scored the winning goal when the teams met New Year's Day. ... Capitals C Liam O'Brien was also scratched. ... The Senators host the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. ... The Capitals play the Canadiens on Monday in Montreal.

No comments