Curse of the Caps

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Mediaaa

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- The team bus couldn't leave the rink soon enough.

The charter couldn't take off fast enough. The Senators couldn't distance themselves from the Washington Capitals quick enough.

They just better hope they don't see them again in the playoffs.

Three-hundred and fifty-five days since their last victory over the Capitals, the Senators blew a second-period lead and went on to drop their fourth and final meeting of the season with Washington, which sits 13th in the Eastern Conference standings.

And once again, it was an old nemesis who did them in.

Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 14th power play goal with Antoine Vermette serving a penalty for tripping in the neutral zone and just 10:49 left in the third period.

Less than three minutes later, Alexander Semin's second of the game would make the final 4-2 for the Capitals.

Said Senators' Dean McAmmond when asked if he'd seen enough of the Capitals: "Yeah. I don't really like them."

"It's a loss," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. "It doesn't feel any better or any worse than any other loss. It's always frustrating when you lose. We played a good game. We gave up two easy goals and they got four or five power plays. That takes its toll as well.

"It's never good when you get scored on late or early in a period. That's the way it goes. We just have to bounce back."

Ovechkin's goal was his sixth of the season against Ottawa and came on the fifth man-advantage opportunity for the home team.

The Senators had just two power plays and couldn't do a thing with them.

Semin's victory-sealer was scored with Senators at their sloppiest in the defensive zone.

Earlier in the day, the Caps lost their second-leading scorer when Michael Nylander opted for surgery to repair a rotator cuff and will miss the rest of the season.

The game marked the NHL debut for Ilya Zubov, a 20-year-old prospect the Senators brought in from Binghamton for the occasion. Zubov didn't distinguish himself, but didn't make any costly errors either, as he spent the night playing left wing for Jason Spezza and Alfredsson.

Goals 82 seconds apart by McAmmond and Wade Redden erased a 1-0 deficit to give the Senators a rare lead (for this season) against the Capitals. But short-lived, it was.

CORVO COUGHS IT UP

Joe Corvo was directly responsible for Washington tying the score just 23 seconds after Redden had given the Senators the lead. Corvo sent a pass through the slot that went right to Semin. A dazzling couple of moves later, Semin scored the goal that sent the teams into the third period tied.

Corvo wasn't the only goat. Senators coach John Paddock named Anton Volchenkov and Cristoph Schubert as guys who made mistakes on Washington goals.

And the penalty killing was another culprit. It was the timing of Semin's first, 23 seconds after Ottawa had grabbed the lead, that was the killer.

"We went over it 10 days ago or whatever, allowing a goal after they score or we score," said Paddock. "It was a key time, for sure. We were feeling good about ourselves, up 2-1. It was a setback."

Of Emery, Paddock said: "I thought he was pretty good in the first and second period.

"It felt like he had the Ovechkin goal and the other one was a funny goal, we give the puck away and we're chasing a stick ... he was all right."

After giving the New York Islanders nine power plays (compared to getting only three themselves) Sunday, the Senators took the first three penalties last night.

"It's about results," said Senators defenceman Chris Phillips. "We gave up goals, and special teams is a big part of the game

"If you look at pretty well every game we've lost this year, it's been our own doing. We've made mistakes and (the opponents) are capitalizing on them."


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