OTTAWA – Mike Fisher has held the hot hand for the Ottawa Senators recently – two of them, in fact. And on Monday night, he put them to good use.
Fisher scored at the 1:14 mark of overtime to give the Senators a 4-3 victory after they’d rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit against the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place.
“We were hungry, we knew that we could come back,” said Fisher, who earlier Monday was named the NHL’s third star of the week after picking up six points in three contests last week. “We came at them hard and created opportunities and buried them when we got chances. It was an exciting win for us.”
Fisher redirected a pass from Chris Phillips out of mid-air past Semyon Varlamov in the extra session to give the Senators (12-6-3) their fourth straight victory.
Among Fisher’s 10 goals this season, four of them have been game-winners – a team-high – and two of those have been in overtime.
“For whatever reason, I seem to get a lot of chances (in overtime) and they seem to go in,” he said.
Peter Regin also had a goal while Chris Neil and Alexandre Picard, on the power play, scored in the third period to rally the Senators before a season-low crowd of 16,210 at home.
Brian Elliott made 25 saves and Filip Kuba registered three assists.
Last week, the Senators knocked off their biggest traditional rival in the Toronto Maple Leafs, the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres.
Now having downed another top team in the Capitals (13-5-6), they’ve vaulted the Sabres for first place in the division.
“We’ve been at home a lot and we knew we had to put some wins together and it was not going to be easy, especially against the teams we’ve been playing,” Fisher said. “But we’ve been elevating our game against top teams and that’s a great sign.”
Chris Clark, Brendan Morrison and 24-year-old rookie right-winger Jay Beagle, with his first NHL goal in his fourth game, scored for the Capitals in regulation time.
Alex Ovechkin had an assist and Mike Green also set up a goal to extend his point-scoring streak to seven games, during which he has one goal and 10 assists.
Varlamov allowed more than two goals for the first time in five games. He finished with 33 saves.
“We stopped playing,” Ovechkin said. “You could see in the first two periods, we got the puck deep and took the pressure to their D and they gave us the puck and we scored goals. In the third period, we stopped doing it and you see the results.”
It’s the third straight defeat for the Capitals, who are winless in four of the last five outings.
“This was a collapse by 20 guys,” a dismayed coach Bruce Boudreau said afterward. “There’s no other way to sugarcoat it.
“We had complete control of the game. Someone lit a fire under them and we couldn’t match it.”
With Pascal Leclaire struggling with a lower-body injury suffered in Ottawa’s last game, Elliott was given the start for Ottawa, although Leclaire didn’t stay out of the line of fire.
During the game, a clearing attempt by Jason Spezza hit a Capitals player and sailed into the bench, rebounding off the glass and striking the goaltender in the head. He left the bench and his status was not immediately known.
The rest of the Senators fared better, although for two periods, it didn’t look like they would.
Ottawa took the lead through Regin just seven and a half minutes into the game, but the Capitals battled back to tie it less than four minutes later.
Clark wasn’t able to get his stick on a pass from Brian Pothier and inadvertently directed the puck into the net with his skate. However, after a review, the goal stood.
One second after the Senators had killed a penalty and with less than 30 seconds to go in the first, Green spotted Morrison for a tap-in goal.
Beagle, who’s been in the lineup since being recalled from Hershey of the American Hockey League on Nov. 17, took advantage of a giveaway by Senators right-winger Jonathan Cheechoo in front of Ottawa’s net and buried the puck past Elliott to make it 3-1 midway through the second.
That kept alive the Capitals’ run of having always held the lead in the second period or later in all 24 of their games so far, but it wouldn’t end well.
“It’s huge,” Elliott said. “Our third periods seem to be our best. We came back out and we had confidence going into the third even though we were down.”
Neil cut the advantage to a goal early in the third when he tipped Kuba’s point shot past Varlamov.
And, with Ovechkin in the box for roughing after a big hit on defenceman Chris Campoli, Picard wired a shot from the blue-line to tie the game.
The Senators outshot the Capitals 18-3 in the third.
“Some teams will look at that as getting a point, but not when you had the game in hand with a two-goal lead in the third period,” Clark said. “We came out lightly, we didn’t intend to.
“We got caught in our zone a lot and couldn’t get it out and they capitalized in the third period and overtime.”
Notes: Senators right-winger Alex Kovalev wasn’t in the lineup for the second straight game after returning to Russia over the weekend to attend the funeral of his mother-in-law. He’s expected to play Wednesday when Ottawa travels to New Jersey to face the Devils. a In addition to their long-term injuries, the Capitals were still missing five players who are listed as day-to-day: defencemen Milan Jurcina (lower body), Shaone Morrisonn (upper body) and Tom Poti (upper body) and forwards Boyd Gordon (back) and Alexander Semin (wrist).