A Canadian Clunker: Senators Crush Capitals, 6-1

Photo: X/@Capitals

The Washington Capitals fell to the Ottawa Senators, 6-1 Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. John Carlson posted the loan goal for Washington. The loss drops the Capitals record to 1-2-0 on the season.

Darcy Kuemper (1-0-0, 1.85 GAA, .950 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Capitals. Anton Forsberg (1-0-0, 2.01 GAA, .905 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Senators. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Capitals:

Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Strome – T.J. Oshie
Connor McMichael – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Tom Wilson
Sonny Milano – Nicklas Backstrom – Matthew Phillips
Beck Malenstyn – Aliaksei Protas – Anthony Mantha

Rasmus Sandin – John Carlson
Martin Fehervary – Trevor van Riemsdyk
Lucas Johansen – Nick Jensen

Darcy Kuemper
Clay Stevenson

Scratches: Nic Dowd (upper body injury), Alex Alexeyev, Charlie Lindgren (Injury – day-to-day).


The Senators opened the scoring on a breakaway tally from Vladimir Tarasenko (2) at 4:28 of the opening stanza. Ridly Grieg and Mathieu Joseph had the helpers.

The Senators stretched their lead to 2-0 with a power play tally from Josh Norris (1) with 7:31 remaining in the first frame. Drake Batherson and Tim Stutzle had the assists.

The Capitals answered with a goal from John Carlson at 18:54 of the first stanza, closing the gap to 2-1. Alex Ovechkin (1) and Tom Wilson (1) had the helpers.

The period concluded with the Capitals trailing, 2-1. The Capitals led in 5v5 shot attempts, 21-17 and xGF 1.58 to .41.


The Senators reinstated their two-goal lead just 1:27 into the middle frame with a goal from Josh Norris, his second of the game. Drake Batherson had the lone helper.

The Senators added a fourth goal less than five minutes into the first period. Artem Zug potted the fourth Ottawa tally at 4:46.

Following a fruitless Capitals powerplay, the Senators extended their lead to 5-1 with a marker from Claude Giroux at 15:47.

The period concluded with the Senators comfortably ahead, 5-1.


The Senators made it 6-1 midway through the final frame with aa tally from Jake Sanderson at 11:47.

That was the final.


  • Nicklas Backstrom played in his 1,100th game. Through 1,099 career games, Backstrom has recorded 761 assists. Backstrom’s 761 assists are the the 21st most in NHL history among players at the 1,110-game mark. Every player ahead of Backstrom is either in the Hockey Hall of Fame or not yet eligible.

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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41 Responses to A Canadian Clunker: Senators Crush Capitals, 6-1

  1. Peter Wolfe says:

    Disgraceful Performance!

    • Anonymous says:

      However not unexpected and most likely what we will see most of this year and for several years during this silly “retool” and then a forced rebuild! So be prepared for some bad hockey with a slow and aging team with some youngsters thrown in and having growing pains.

  2. Jon Sorensen says:


    • Anonymous says:

      There is a lot to fix. Rebuilds are rough.

    • GR in 430 says:

      I’m thinking you folks are going to have to introduce a new element in your reporting this year: Worst Player of the Game.

      It would be tough to choose the worst player in this one… Sandin truly sucked, as did Jensen. Ovechkin Is playing awful defense, which resulted in a couple of the Sens’ goals from the point being way easier than they should have been, but that’s okay he’s not supposed to play defense, is he? Plus he’s made up for it so far this season by being totally ineffective on offense as well… wait, what did I just write?

      Overall bad play aside, the one thing that appears to me as the most obvious carryover from last year is that the Caps lack finishers up front. They get chances, but can’t finish them. That includes Ovechkin to this point, but is pretty much team-wide. The Sens don’t play much defense, so the Caps could have had a lot of goals — but they just didn’t seem to want to accept the gifts the Sens were providing them.

      Let’s see if the Canadiens are a cure for what ails the Caps…

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        Lol, “worst player of the game” award. Who would we name it after? I’m not totally opposed to it.

        • andrew777dc says:

          May be a pretty good idea for the coaching staff to implement. Ain’t no handing out axes and shields so far. Maybe this will get players going.

        • novafyre says:

          Martin Erat?

        • Rich427 says:

          Jon, how about calling the worst player of the game award, …let me see, ..how about the Manthony! SMH. But to be fair, tonight you could call it the OviBackyKuzyOshieSandyJeny. This is going to be a long, long season unless Carbs can figure out away to put at least half the roster on LTIR. This is getting painful to watch.

          • GR in 430 says:

            Can’t name it after a current player, because it would be weird to give a guy recognition named after himself, even if it is negative recognition.

            Instead, I volunteer 2 defensemen from the worst team in the history of the NHL: The 1974-75 Washington Capitals, who had a fabulous record of 8-67-5.

            Bill Mikkelson, who had a robust +/- of -82 in only 59 games,


            Jack Lynch, who was a -54 in only 20 games.

            My source is Hockey Reference. Feel free to peruse that site, or HockeyDB and offer up a worse player from Caps history.

      • andrew777dc says:

        but that’s okay he’s not supposed to play defense, is he? Plus he’s made up for it so far this season by being totally ineffective on offense as well… wait, what did I just write?

        Dropped the bomb! 😂😂😭😭

        • CW says:

          The Greg Joly Award

          • Anonymous says:

            Joly is definitely a candidate, but his numbers weren’t quite as bad as Mikkelson or Lynch’s in ’74. On the other hand, he was the Caps first ever draft pick, and first overall, but was a major bust, so that does add to his suckiness quotient.

            • Anonymous says:

              98 games played, and a robust -115, according hockey reference. But,to be fair, using +- to choose is probably not the best way to go. None of those early teams played defense. Lynch was pretty good until he blew out his knee. Never the same, after the injury. Agree. Being the Cap first overall pick, seems to place Joly in a unique position for th “suckiness” (I like that btw) award.

  3. Lance says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Man this team is OLD and SLOOOOWWWWW. Sens skated circles around them. There is no identity with this team. Ovi looks way too passive. He needs to rev up the engines if this team is to go anywhere. Barely any physicality aside from Wilson. I get the season is young, you got a new HC, and are trying to figure things out, but they need to figure things out fast.

    Being without Dowd and Alexeyev definitely hurt the defense as well, but we would’ve lost regardless. I like seeing Protas get an opportunity at Center and Johansen getting in there, but they’re not on the same level.

    It looked like for a brief moment there late in the 1st the Caps were starting to click more, but it all fell apart. Got no power play and gave tons away too. Not to mention Ovi’s missed penalty shot call. Simply put, the Capitals were utterly dominated and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The better team won tonight.

    For some silver linings: I did like the line changes, moving Strome and Wilson up top, and it should stay that way, even if the 3rd line isn’t the same with Backstrom. Oshie does still look good. The problem with him has always been availability rather than any decline in ability. Sure he’s not the same as he was, but when healthy he’s still able to play at a high level. Carlson, obviously. He was good, even if he got outpaced at times. CMM and Phillips looked really good. CMM showed some of his playmaking ability and Phillips can flat out fly. A rare sight indeed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well that’s 3+ hours of my life I won’t get back.

  6. Lance says:

    Our top 3 centers have zero points after 3 games.

  7. Diane Doyle says:

    I am doing my “back of the envelop” calculations on when the rebuild will start. After this season, our most consequential UFA (as far as salary is concerned) is Mantha. Other than that are Patches (LTIR), Edmundson (LTIR), Aube-Kubal (in minors). Several RFA’s though in McMichael, Sandin, Johansen, Protas, Phillips, and Malenstyn. Even if we don’t keep all of those guys, any raises will eat up the equivalent of what Mantha made, although reports are that the cap is going up.

    But after the 2024-25 season, Backstrom, Oshie, and Kuzy all become UFA’s so that’s a lot of salary off the books. Would anyone take Oshie or Kuzy as a rental if 2024-25 goes off the rails? The main RFA coming due then is Alexeyev.

    • Anonymous says:

      Much of this salary cap problem would have been solved in June if the owner and GM had the balls to buyout both Mantha and Backstrom and start the rebuild rather than try to ‘Retool” to please Ovie and make the fans think that they were not far away for winning. Any educated fan knows that in order for this team to be considered a top team again they are going to have to get worse before they get better. By that I mean they have to unload Ovie, Backy, Oshie, Carlson, Kuzy, Down, Jensen, TVR, Kuemper, Lindgren, Pacioretty and Edmundson. Yes folks gut the team and go with all younger players and get those high draft picks for a few years. Buffalo and Ottawa have done that as had NJ and several others. No team stays as a contending team all the time as players get older and skills decrease.

      So suck it up as you enjoyed the good ride and now is the time for a lengthy bad ride (5-7 years) and lets hope that the GM makes some great draft picks and trades and has learned that he needs to keep his younger players rather than trade them for older players on the down side of their career. And there are going to be nights like tonight the rest of this year and for years to come than like Saturday night.

  8. andrew777dc says:

    Another gut punch…
    D stinks.

  9. Anonymous says:

    how about going back to the 1-1-3 trap system that won the cup? Will that even help I wonder

    • Anonymous says:

      LMAO…..NO as you don’t have the same quality of players now that you had then. The older guys are way to slow and the younger guys are not ready yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      LMAO…..NO, as the players are way to old and slow and the younger players are just learning. Also do not have the same personal

  10. Anonymous says:

    A new system and a bunch of kids playing will lead to early misadventures

  11. Anonymous says:

    The power play looks terrible.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Despite the focus on passing, the D can’t seem to get the puck out of its own end when there’s even one opponent flying in hard. We don’t seem to forecheck much at all and allow their D to skate the puck up to their blue line with no opposition at all. I’m not into the game of blaming individual players (other than Mantha who appears to not want the puck at all) and wouldn’t even be a positive if he played for the Stingrays at this point.

  13. Scottlew73 says:

    Yes,rebuilds can be rough…Ottawa should know ! They are just coming out of one where GM brought in right mix of veteran,youth,and IN THE SYSTEM draft picks to where they can compete for playoff spot. And all this being done while thier owners passing & sale of team lingered over thier heads!
    Washington what’s your excuse???

    • Anonymous says:

      I give you 2 reasons: 1) Ted does not think that there needs to be are build rather just retool with older players, especially those on LTIR; and 2) catering to 1 player so that he can achieve a record by refusing to go into a rebuild. However if you want to look at it differently one could say success for so many years has left the cupboard bare and as players got older rather than trade some for picks or younger players the GM paid them more and let the team get old and slow. Also refusing to buy out the contracts of Mantha and Backstrom in June. Also letting Trotz go rather than pay him for what he did that I believe no other HC could have done with this team and then following him with 2 very bad and cheap choices for HC. Sometimes this owner and GM are penny wise but pound foolish. Sad as Ovie has 2 more years and then they will start the rebuild it will be at least 5-7years before this team is a viable Cup contender again. So sit back and enjoy the next several years as you are going to have more nights of play like tonight.

  14. andrew777dc says:

    Where are the people who called the skeptics boo birds just recently? Don’t hear them anymore…

  15. Lance says:

    My early season impressions are:

    * Lucas Johansen is not an NHLer.
    * The Caps won’t catch Detroit, the Pens, the Sens, the Sabres or any of the better, actually good teams in the east. We show all signs of a team that won’t make the playoffs.
    * Our centers are extremely weak defensively and are creating little offensively.
    * Our D corps is Charmin soft and not anything special offensively.
    * Ovie’s lack of defensive play isn’t getting covered up so far this year.
    * Our vets are simply too old now. Carlson can still play. All or almost all the other guys over 33 appear to be on their way out of the league. Old Man Winter is undefeated.
    * if this continues for another 10 games then what?
    * I’m not too pissed about it. We won in 2018. Should’ve won around 5 Cups total but we did win 1.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ideal scenarios are
      -Oshie and Backy retire. They are done like dinner.
      -Bring up Miro and Frank to replace the 2 grandpas
      -Trade Jensen for a tougher D man who hits and can clear the crease. Some fool will look at his ”fancy analytics” and take him
      -Waive Lujo when Edmundson is ready and healthy. Maybe he will help bring some of that sandpaper the D corps desperately need.
      -Mantha…..nothing to do there but wait out his contract since nobody wants our garbage. Say goodbye and good riddance in April.
      -Kuzy…..oh boy. No words

      That’s all I got. Do all of that and MAYBE…..just maybe sneak in the playoffs as wild card. And then I wake up

      • Anonymous says:

        Like your first point and like your 5th pint both should have been bought out in May instead of fiddling around and trying to convince the fans that this is a playoff team. Second point, no as neither is ready right now for the NHL; maybe in late Dec or January or when you trade a few players for picks. Third point…..no, if traded do for picks as this team needs all the young player it can get. 4th point Keep Lujo but trade or waive both Pacioretty and Edmundson asap and let younger players take their place. Agree on your 5th point as the time to get rid of him was in June when they should have bought out his contract, so let him sit in the stands all season and eat nachos and popcorn. Last point the only way to get rid of something that is useless or a cancer is to cut it out; what they could have done with Kuzy was tell him and his agent to go to all the other teams and try to make a deal there to get rid of him.

        Sad thst Backy, Kuzy and Oshie all have a contract for the 24/25 season so maybe the owner and GM will decide with the loss of Mantha and for the betterment of the team to buy out that year for each player. Sad that Carlson, TVR and Jensen all have 2 more years before we get rid of them.

        Going to be a long year and even a longer rebuild!

        • Horn73 says:

          I don’t disagree with team / older players are not looking good. Changes likely needed…

          My issue is so many romanticizing rebuilds…

          We have no young players ready to help, unless the goal is to lose even more games. Also rebuilds, even if find as many describe (buyouts abd such) rarely take 5-7 years. More like 10-20…so yeah, I’d rather watch Ovi try to break the record and roll the dice.

          Christ, Edmonton is finally there after 30 years…

          • Anonymous says:

            I totally agree that we have NO IMPACT young players. If they draft well and trade some players for picks they could do the rebuild in 7 years. However that means that they have to be really bad for the next 3-5 years and get top 3-5 picks and not miss on any of them.

            As for the record, IF they keep Backy on the line with him he will never get it. And as he is the only true scoring threat that this team has he might just have a hard time scoring this year.

            Its going to be a long year and even longer time until this team is a legitimate contender for the playoffs and Cu so sit back get some snacks and beer and watch some gamed but also watch the college games as as many tournaments as you can to see the players that the Caps might be able to draft!!

  16. DWGie26 says:

    I’ll play the optimist card. I do think Edmundson will have an impact. He is big, physical, nasty, and experienced. I think HHA will help the dee in short term.

    They need a lot of work on the systems for sure and that comes with real games, so we’ll see if things start to settle a bit.

    We are going to need to get creative on a trade to bring in a true top 6 forward.

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