Feb 22, 2012, 10:29 PM EDT
The hockey world can debate the merits of blowing the Washington Capitals up, but the team probably feels like Wile E. Coyote after a typical failed detonation right now.
The Capitals had their chances, but the Ottawa Senators took advantage of some great work by Erik Karlsson and another lousy outing by Tomas Vokoun to take a 4-0 lead that made life rather glum for Alex Ovechkin-less Washington. Vokoun was pulled for the second consecutive game and while Michal Neuvirth looked good and Washington saved some face (the final score ended up 5-2), it’s hard to find many positives for the decrepit D.C. denizens.
While Dale Hunter spoke of the need to “cover up” for Vokoun, the Senators are rejoicing in Karlsson’s explosive offensive season. The splendid sophomore Swede scored three points including two assists, setting a new franchise mark with 47 on the season. His 60 points leads NHL defensemen by a huge margin and Karlsson’s been particularly hot lately, with a dizzying five goals and seven assists in his last five contests.
Karlsson likely has a lot to learn in his own end, but his offensive production might just make him the new Mike Green (without all the baggage of blame, at least right now).
This marks Ottawa’s fourth win in a row, placing them comfortably in seventh place in the East with 72 points. In fact, they’re currently tied with the Northeast Division-leading Boston Bruins with those 72 points and are only two points behind the New Jersey Devils for the fourth seed.
Of course, they’ve played five more games than Boston (62 GP to 57) and three more than New Jersey – so they appear larger in those squads’ rear-view mirrors than they actually are – but Ottawa is making some serious noise either way.
Washington, meanwhile, is uttering a mere whimper. They’ve lost three games in a row and now find themselves two points behind the Winnipeg Jets (65 to 63) for ninth place, although they do have two games in hand. They also trail the eighth-place Toronto Maple Leafs by two points but don’t have those games in hand, so this was yet another missed opportunity for Washington.
Here are highlights of the contest:This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 21
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 19
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 47
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) 125
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets at Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 2) 4
- Blues come back to stun Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime, take 2-0 series lead 39
- WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 2) 4
- Flyers’ Mason out of Game 2, Emery to start again 51
- Lucic fined $5,000 for spearing DeKeyser 80
- Getzlaf powers Ducks to Game 2 victory, 2-0 series lead over Stars 7