Rare goal by Chorney lifts Capitals by Senators

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[January 02, 2017]  WASHINGTON -- Forget Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals' high-flying forwards. It's the defenseman who have suddenly turned into scoring machines.

Defensemen Taylor Chorney and Karl Alzner, neither of whom are known for their offensive prowess, lit the lamp for the Capitals as they opened a three-game home stand Sunday with a 2-1 triumph over the Ottawa Senators.

Chorney has spent most of second season with the Capitals career as a healthy scratch and Sunday was his seventh appearance of the season. But with the score tied at 1 in the third, Chorney took a pass from fellow defenseman Brooks Orpik at the point and fired a shot through a host of bodies and past Senators goalie Mike Condon to give Washington the lead for good with?17:17?remaining.

"It's a super-hard position to be in, the one that he's in," Alzner said of Chorney. "He doesn't get to play a whole lot and every single game he's played, he's been not just good, he's been great and he still comes out of the lineup just because of the way the team is built. It's nice to see him get rewarded. It's funny, because I heard him say between the second and third, 'a GW (game-winner) would be nice.' And sure enough, he got the game-winning goal."

The tally was just the third goal in 130 career games for Chorney and first since March 2 against Toronto. The Capitals have had seven goals from their defenseman in their last 11 contests.

"Up here, you just try to go out there and be reliable and if you get a chance to score a few goals here and there, you kind of take them," Chorney said. "As defenseman, we can all skate and get out there and guys have been making that a point. It's been working out for us."

Washington had to stave off a 5-on-3 chance for Ottawa midway through the third period and more than a minute of the Senators with an extra attacker after pulling Condon in an attempt to gain the equalizer. Capitals goalie Braden Holtby registered 23 saves in the victory.

The Capitals have now killed 29 consecutive penalties after holding the Senators to 0-for-4 with the extra man.

"You're never that confident," Trotz said of killing the 5-on-3. "If anybody could do it, I do believe our PK is committed enough all year, really, to get it done. And we got some big saves from (Holtby)."

After an early stretch of the game that featured close calls and missed opportunities, the stalemate finally broke in the second period when Kyle Turris -- who had hit a post in the first -- took a fantastic feed from Ryan Dzingel and flipped the puck past Holtby to give the Senators a 1-0 advantage with 7:19 left in the second period.

It was Turris' 100th goal with Ottawa, but he and the rest of the Senators were in no mood to celebrate milestones after the loss.

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"It was frustrating," he said. "We had opportunities to at least tie the game up, but definitely win the game. We have to score on the 5-on-3. Capitalizing on opportunities and we didn't do that tonight. It's not coming together." 

Ottawa had another scoring chance late in the second period when Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom was sent off for holding. But the Senators' power play set up a shorthanded breakaway for Washington's Justin Williams, whose shot ricocheted off Condon to T.J. Oshie.

Oshie found Alzner near the face-off dot and the defenseman fired a blast by Condon to tie the score with 19.5 seconds left in the period.

"Those two goals are goals that we gave away," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "When you do one, you might get away with it, but you give two like that, it comes to haunt you."

The Senators challenged whether Williams was offside, but the score was upheld after review. It was just Alzner's third goal of the season and his first since Nov. 1.

"It's the NHL," Condon said. "Everybody's here for a reason and everybody can shoot the puck pretty well. They use their D pretty well. They jump in the rush, and tonight Alzner came down pretty aggressively on the first goal and then a pretty good one-timer from Chorney. Those are good skill plays."

NOTES: Washington re-assigned F Jakub Vrana to AHL's Hershey on Sunday. Vrana made his NHL debut on Dec. 1and scored one goal in 12 games with the Capitals. "We'll go day-by-day here," Washington coach Barry Trotz said of Vrana's status. ... Ottawa will play next on Jan. 7 due to its league-mandated break, but Senators coach Guy Boucher doesn't believe his team will be affected. "Every team looks at their break and can say something good or something bad about it," he said. ... Senators F Chris Kelly appeared in his 500th game with the club, only the 10th player in team history to reach that mark. F Derick Brassard reached the 600-game milestone in his NHL career. ... Sunday marked the 28th time the Capitals have played on New Year's Day. Washington is 17-6-3-1 all time on Jan. 1. ... Washington scratched D Nate Schmidt while Ottawa scratched D Fredrik Claesson. ... Washington has now won four straight against Ottawa and has earned points in seven consecutive games against the Senators.

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