OTTAWA – Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau took the high road after Friday’s loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Visibly upset during the game at a string of calls that went against his club in a 2-0 defeat, Boudreau bit his tongue afterwards.
“Hey, refs have a bad night too sometimes,” said Boudreau, clearly not wanting to risk a fine for criticizing the officials. “It’s a tough game.”
Craig Anderson made 31 saves for his second shutout with the Senators (29-37-9), while Colin Greening and Erik Condra had the goals.
Semyon Varlamov finished with 21 saves for the Capitals (43-22-10).
Although their coach kept his thoughts to himself, the Capitals players were less kind.
Washington appeared to be heading to the power play early in the first after Matt Hendricks was caught with a high stick by Ottawa’s David Hale. The Senators defenceman went to the penalty box, but was then told to leave after the officials incorrectly determined Hendricks was cut by a skate.
“They gave him four and then the other three officials said I got kicked with a skate,” Hendricks said. “I’m not going to say anything about officiating because that’s not my job.”
Ottawa opened the scoring at 13:25 of the second on a goal that left Boudreau fuming.
Jason Spezza sent the puck in front of the Washington net from a sharp angle to Greening, who saw the puck deflect in off of his skate. After a lengthy video review, Greening’s fourth of the season stood.
“On the goal I wanted to know if (Varlamov) was interfered with,” Boudreau said. “You guys saw the replay you tell me.”
The Senators made it 2-0 at 2:12 of the third as Condra beat Varlamov through the legs for his fifth of the campaign.
Marcus Johansson had a great chance on Anderson midway through the third, but saw his shot slide through the crease.
Anderson, who signed a US$12.75, four-year contract extension earlier in the week, was aided by his defence all night.
“He saw the pucks and that was the important thing,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of second and third opportunities.”
Anderson made 29 saves in Thursday’s 2-1 shootout win over the New York Rangers, but a rested Washington club couldn’t capitalize on a weary opponent.
“They played last night, they were tired and we could have at least tried to take advantage of that a bit more,” Hendricks said. “They’re playing well, they’re playing hard and they definitely deserve some credit.”
The Senators had a scare midway though the third when Patrick Wiercioch, playing just his third NHL game, was hit into the boards by Matt Bradley. Wiercioch was favouring his right shoulder as he made his way to the bench. Ottawa’s Zack Smith came to his teammate’s defence and left Bradley bloodied after a short fight.
The hit earned Bradley a minor for boarding despite the fact the hit came inside the faceoff circle.
“I thought it was a fair hit, I didn’t get my elbows up,” Bradley said. “I understand what they want to do and I’m all for getting rid of dirty hits, but in my mind that wasn’t a dirty hit.”
The Capitals’ Brooks Laich was frustrated by the call.
“Are we trying to eliminate hitting from the game?” Laich asked. “Is that what we’re trying to do with all this talk? He hits him above the goal-line and it’s a boarding call? How is he supposed to play if that’s a call?”
Despite a scoreless first period, the 18,329 on hand at Scotiabank Place were well entertained as both Varlamov and Anderson made a number of big saves.
Anderson was also spectacular in the second, making back-to-back stops on Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich early in the period. The Capitals had a great opportunity on the power play with a wide open net, but still couldn’t find a way past the Senators netminder.
“I think for me it’s just a matter of keeping the team in the game, giving them an opportunity to stay in the game and win it,” Anderson said. “It’s one of those nights where it’s going to be a lucky bounce for us to win, or for them to win, and that’s kind of the way it played out.”
Notes: Anderson has allowed one goal or fewer in nine of his 14 starts since coming over in a trade from Colorado. … Ottawa’s Milan Michalek was back in the lineup after missing 12 games with a foot injury. … Despite the loss, the Capitals won the season series 3-1. … The Senators were without RW Daniel Alfredsson (back, indefinite), D Sergei Gonchar (concussion, indefinite), C Peter Regin (shoulder, season), and D Matt Carkner (knee, indefinite). … G Curtis McElhinney had to leave for a family emergency. Mike Brodeur was recalled from Binghamton to serve as Anderson’s backup. … G Pascal Leclaire has left the Senators following hip surgery earlier this week. Leclaire had been sidelined since Dec. 17 … The Capitals were without C Alex Ovechkin (undisclosed, one week), RW Eric Fehr (shoulder, day-to-day) and Jason Arnott (lower body, day-to-day). … Capitals D Tyler Sloan was a healthy scratch.