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Karlsson shines, Vokoun flops as Sens and Caps move in opposite directions

Feb 22, 2012, 10:29 PM EDT

Ottawa Senators v New York Islanders Getty Images

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).

Standings update

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:

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  1. scottfmullin - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    If I wasn’t such a Panthers fan, I might feel a little bad for the Caps and their true fans.

    They were supposed to be Presidents Cup contenders this year, but now there is more than a little discussion that the team should sell its pieces. Quite a difference between their expectations and current standing.

  2. stakex - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again… the Caps have a lot of problems right now. No one thing is going to save them, and no one player can help a team that is this screwed up. I think Gretzky in his prime would have his hands full making the Caps good right now.

  3. danphipps01 - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Karlsson’s absurd. Guy’s chasing Malkin, Henrik and Datsyuk and he’s a defenseman. Granted, he barely actually plays defense, but still! As a winger, those numbers would STILL make him one of the best in the League.

    • stakex - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:08 PM

      Yeah Karlssons one hell of a player. Reminds me a lot of Brian Leetch, not a great defensement but a really good offensive player.

  4. blomfeld - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Who cares about this crap ? Seriously, is this story meant to be a joke or something, or do people actually follow this kind of trivial tripe ? If it’s become this bad, then please allow me to spice things up for you with a favorite from my later teenage years :)

    • bowens3181 - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:01 AM

      Wait, let me get this straight.

      You don’t care about this story, BUT you care so much about the fact that you don’t care about this story, that you decided to comment on it.

      Which either means you are pathetically reading stories you don’t care about in order to comment on how little you care about them because there is little else in your pathetic life, or you’re an attention whore who was having a bad day and decided that the only way to make your sad self feel better was to annoy random strangers on the internet.

      Either way, I feel bad for you buddy.

      There are help lines for where you’re headed. Just make sure to call in time.

  5. dcfan4life - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    Another ugly Caps game. This team is not built to comeback from deficits, and they play with there heads down once behind. The Senators gave them what, 5 power plays, and i think the Sens had better opportunities to score on the first 3. Why oh why i watch this junk still makes me sick. When the hell does baseball season start. Go Nats!!!

    • kantnockdahustle89 - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM

      Hard to be fan of anything Md/DC/Va right now except the Ravens…who choke almost as much as the Caps but at least they are consistently good.

    • govtminion - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      These are dark times to be a sports fan around here, agreed. Caps don’t care anymore, Wizards are worse than bad, Redskins are still a mess, and the Nats have a lot of question marks… then just north the Orioles look like crap, and the Ravens seem to come up short when it matters. Painful around here lately.

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