Caps let lead slip away late in overtime loss to Senators

Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and Senators defenseman Nick Holden battle for the puck

WASHINGTON — One week after beating the Ottawa Senators in overtime, the Capitals found themselves on the losing end of an extra-time affair Thursday. Alex DeBrincat scored the game-tying and game-winning goals for Ottawa to beat Washington 4-3 and snap its five-game winning streak.

Having split their first two meetings, the Senators clinched their season series with the Capitals in their first and only game of the season at Capital One Arena. Goaltender Cam Talbot got the win for Ottawa, allowing three goals in the second but otherwise limiting Washington's offense.

Capitals netminder Darcy Kuemper, making his third start since returning from an upper-body injury, kept them in the game early. Ottawa outshot them 16-4 in the first period, firing 12 shots off before they finally registered one of their own at the 9:56 mark. The Senators threatened to take an early lead, but Kuemper turned away every chance they created.

That appeared to come back to bite the Senators in the second, when the Capitals came out looking to take control of the game. A savvy pass by Erik Gustafsson cleared a breakaway opportunity for Alex Ovechkin a minute into the period and he didn’t miss, beating Senators goaltender Cam Talbot through the five-hole.

With the primary assist, Gustafsson extended his active point streak to six games. He has taken on a larger share of the offensive load over the last two weeks, something likely to continue with John Carlson out indefinitely after he took a puck to the face last week.


Washington then stretched the lead to two goals just 2:27 later. Dylan Strome received a feed from Conor Sheary in the right circle and fired a snap shot that was too quick for Talbot to handle.

The Senators and Capitals then exchanged goals back and forth from there the rest of the period. Ottawa defenseman Jake Sanderson scored on a shot from the point at the 8:30 mark before Evgeny Kuznetsov registered his 30th point of the season seven minutes after that. Kuznetsov, who only has six goals this year, showed some impressive patience with a dangle across the slot that forced Talbot out of position.

With only 30 seconds to go in the period, the Capitals looked to be headed into the break with a two-goal lead when Marcus Johansson turned over the puck to Senators right wing Claude Giroux in their defensive zone. Giroux found a wide-open Tim Stutzle for the easy score, though the play immediately followed an uncalled trip of Kuemper by Giroux’s stick.

The score remained locked at 3-2 until late in the third period. Center Shane Pinto and DeBrincat took advantage of an odd-man rush with DeBrincat finishing the play off. That sent the game to overtime, where DeBrincat played hero once again with a breakaway goal.

While the overtime loss dropped their season record to 20-13-5, the Capitals still gained a point toward their total of 45 in the Metropolitan Division standings. They'll look to start a new winning streak Saturday when they host the Montreal Canadiens on New Year's Eve.