Latta corralled a high, arcing flip pass from defenseman Dmitry
Orlov just past the blue line and went top shelf on Ottawa goalie
Andrew Hammond to give Washington the game's first goal as the
red-hot Capitals held off the Senators 2-1 to continue their
"I don't even know where the puck went really," Latta said of his
career-high second goal of the season. "I knew (Orlov) flipped it
and I was trying to get on the puck as soon as I can and it just
popped right in front of me. Fourth line, you need those bounces. It
Sitting atop the Eastern Conference, Washington has been able to
utilize its depth, including the likes of Latta, who had been a
healthy scratch in the Capitals' last two contests.
"The good thing is we are finding ways to win," Washington coach
Barry Trotz said. "Be it good goaltending or good penalty kill or
good power play or someone having a big night. And right now, we are
getting contributions from everyone from the first through the
Of course, the primary driver of Washington's success has been
goaltender Braden Holtby, who continued to excel between the pipes.
Holtby turned away 26 shots, including several highlight-reel stops
in the second period, to improve to 12-0-1 in his last 13 games and
pick up his league-leading 20th victory of the season.
"Those guys have some pretty good shooters over there, so if you
turn it over at the wrong times, they're going to make you pay,"
Holtby said. "We did a good job of limiting that."
While the Capitals have been content to ride Holtby this year, the
Senators were glad to welcome Hammond back to the lineup for the
first time since Nov. 12, as the netminder has been sidelined with a
Hammond got a rude greeting from the Capitals, taking a rocket shot
from defenseman John Carlson directly in the mask less than three
minutes into the game. He settled in and finished with 23 saves
while taking just the second regulation loss of his brief, but
"I felt pretty comfortable in there," Hammond said. "It was one of
those games where it was pretty easy to get into it early on. I felt
like I settled into it pretty quick. It was one of those tight,
low-scoring games, where you couldn't give them much. Ultimately, it
was a night where there weren't going to be a lot of goals scored,
but we ended up on the wrong end of that."
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Carlson extended Washington's lead in the second period, taking a
perfect feed from right winger Justin Williams, who had just drawn a
penalty, and blasting it past Hammond at the 5:43 mark of the period
for his sixth tally.
The Senators made things interesting late due to a match penalty
called on Washington right winger Tom Wilson with 4:40 remaining in
the third period. Just 24 seconds later, right winger Bobby Ryan
ended Holtby's shutout bid with his 10th goal of the season, but
Ottawa could not find the equalizer.
"We played a team that is going to arguably be there at the end and
this is a heck of a measuring stick for us," Ryan said. "For 35
minutes maybe, we were there, but for 25 minutes, we watched them
The Capitals continued their dominance of the Atlantic Division, now
having earned points in 27 of their last 29 games against those
teams. Ottawa has dropped three of its last four games.
NOTES: The Capitals announced that they will play host to two World
Cup of Hockey exhibition games at Verizon Center next September. The
U.S. team will face Finland on Sept. 13 and Sweden will play Team
Europe on Sept. 14. ... With the exception of G Andrew Hammond
starting in place of G Craig Anderson, the Senators retained the
same lineup from their last game, with LW Shane Prince as the lone
scratch. ... C Michael Latta returned to the Capitals' lineup,
replacing RW Stanislav Galiev, who joined D Aaron Ness and RW Chris
Brown as scratches. ... RW Mark Stone was the fourth fastest to
reach 100 points for the Senators with an assist in his 132nd NHL
game on Monday.
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