A Night Of Firsts: Capitals Strike Senators, 3-2; Tyler Lewington and Madison Bowey Each Notch First Goal Of NHL Careers

Photo: @Capitals

The Washington Capitals beat the Ottawa Senators by a final score of 3-2 at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday night. The win was their fourth consecutive and second in Ottawa in a week, after the Capitals beat the Senators 4-0 last Saturday. Goaltender Pheonix Copley, who made 35 saves against the Senators last week, recorded 31 saves in tonight’s win in Ottawa. The win was his sixth straight. 

Capitals Lines at Senators

Defenseman Matt Niskanen missed the game with an upper-body injury after he landed face first into the boards suffered from a hit by Carolina Hurricanes center Clark Bishop late in the Capitals’ 3-1 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday. Defenseman Madison Bowey took his place on the second-pairing with Dmitry Orlov. Defenseman Tyler Lewington drew in on the third pair with Niskanen out. Center Nic Dowd stepped in for center Travis Boyd after sitting out against the Hurricanes.

Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot did not play on Saturday due to an upper-body injury suffered in Ottawa’s 6-3 loss to the New York Islanders last night, when he received a shoulder-to-shoulder hit from forward Matt Martin. Goaltender Marcus Hogberg, who is 3-3-1 with a save percentage of .916 and a goals-against average of 2.32 with the AHL’s Belleville Senators this season, made the first start of his NHL career since Craig Anderson is out due to a concussion and Mike McKenna started last night, when he made 33 saves in the loss to the Islanders.

First Period

Forward Tom Wilson drove to the net 7:12 in and put the puck past Hogberg’s glove after receiving a cross-ice pass from center Evgeny Kuznetsov for his 11th of the season and a 1-0 Capitals lead. Lewington was credited with the secondary assist for the first point in his NHL career.

Lewington sniped one past the blocker of Hogberg from the slot through the screen of a few Senators defensemen after getting a drop pass from center Nicklas Backstrom for the first goal of his NHL career with four minutes left in the first frame. The goal marked his second point of the period.

The Capitals led 10-7 in shots, 6-5 in blocked shots, and 8-7 in hits after one period of play.

The Senators led 4-3 in takeaways and had three giveaways while the Capitals had six in the first frame. Ottawa won 67% of the faceoffs in the first.

Neither team converted on the power-play in the first period. Ottawa had one opportunity while Washington had none.

Second Period

Defenseman Madison Bowey walked through the slot and unleashed a bomb after getting a pass from Wilson behind the net. He picked the top corner for his first career NHL goal and a 3-0 Capitals lead 1:01 into the period.

Center Colin White tucked in a loose puck in front of the net after forward Brady Tkachuk swarmed Copley in an effort to find the puck. White’s 10th of the season cut the Capitals’ lead to 3-1 4:22 into the period.

Bowey got taken down by Tkachuk as the two got into a scrap the following shift.

Lewington threw hay-makers with forward Zach Smith with 1:24 left in the period to finish off the Gordie Howe hat trick. Per Mike Vogel, Lewington became the first defenseman to get a Gordie Howe hat trick in 28 years.

The Senators led 20-17 in shots, including 13-7 in the second period, 18-16 in hits, and 6-5 in takeaways after 40 minutes. Ottawa won 65% of the draws and had seven giveaways while Washington had 12.

Each team blocked 12 shots in the first two periods of the game. Neither team scored on the power-play. The Senators had one opportunity with a man up while the Capitals had none.

Third Period

Mark Stone struck for the Senators with 3:30 left with a wrist shot from the right circle after getting the feed from Tkachuk behind the net to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Capitals led 22-21 in hits and 21-16 in blocked shots.

The Senators led 33-24 in shots, including 13-7 in the third period, 14-7 in takeaways. Ottawa won 57% of the draws and 12 giveaways while Washington had 16.

Neither team scored on the power-play. The Senators had one opportunity on the man advantage while the Capitals had none.

With the win, the Capitals become the fourth team to eclipse the 50-point plateau in the NHL standings this season (Tampa Bay Lightning: 62, Toronto Maple Leafs: 54, Winnipeg Jets: 50).

The Capitals come home to host the Nashville Predators for a New Year’s Eve showdown on Monday afternoon. Action from Capital One Arena can be seen on NBC Sports Washington or NHL Network for those outside of the DMV starting at 12:30 PM.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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