Sens grinders get job done

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

One period into last night'ís showdown with the Washington Capitals, the Senators best line was their fourth -- Peter Regin between Jesse Winchester and Ryan Shannon -- with Winchester, who was playing in just his fifth game of the season, the teamís most effective player.

Two periods in, Ottawa's best player was the rookie Regin, and not just because he had accounted for the home side's only goal to that point. Regin was skating and working. The others, not so much.

When Jay Beagle scored his first NHL goal with the contest 31 minutes and 44 seconds old, the shots clock read 22-11 in favour of the Capitals.

Yup, the Senators were playing like beagles, too.

Matt "Big Country" Carkner tried to crank them up when he ventured into the Washington zone to take a run at Alex Ovechkin in the last minute of the second.

But John Erskine refused an invitation to dance with the Ottawa tough man. Maybe Big Country's attempt had a delayed effect, for the Senators came out like a new team in the third.

Against a Caps team that was playing its third game against a Canadian team in four nights -- and was missing seven players who were on its opening night roster -- the Senators would have easily prevented overtime had they not been such dogs in the first 40 minutes.

Starts and stops

It looked like the Senators were catching a big time break after the Washington morning skate, when Alex Ovechkin gave Nicklas Backstrom the shaving cream pie in the face for his birthday. Backstrom said some of it left his eye stinging, but there was never a danger of him not suiting up last night. Ovechkin's status, however, was not so certain. "I saw that," smirked Caps coach Bruce Boudreau. "I'm not playing him now." Alas, Boudreau caved and put the worldís best player in his lineup ... Not only did Filip Kuba draw an assist on Alex Picard's goal that tied the game in the third, but he also made a goal-saving stick check on Chris Clark in the first ... Mike Green dodges a Chris Neil attempted hit in the first period, and in doing so coughed up the puck to Neil, who set up Nick Foligno for a shot that rattled the post. In the third, Green wasnít so lucky, as he was rammed into the end boards by Neil then appeared to complain to the ref about it ... Ultimately, shouldn't a too-many-men penalty be pinned on the coach? Of course it should.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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