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01/30/2013 12:24 AM EST
Gonchar scores winner for Senators against Caps
OTTAWA 3, WASHINGTON 2

OTTAWA (AP) -- Before Sergei Gonchar scored the game-winner for
the Senators, Ottawa's fourth line of Jim O'Brien, Mika
Zibanejad and Erik Condra provided the spark for a comeback
against the Capitals.



Gonchar scored on the power play with 2:30 remaining in
regulation in Ottawa's 3-2 victory over Washington on Tuesday.



Zibanejad and Condra assisted on O'Brien's goal with 1:23 left
in the second period to cut a 2-0 deficit in half and breathe
life into the Senators heading to the third.



"I thought they were the best line and the best guys play,"
Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "They were the best group by
far so we had to make sure we got them on the ice."



Zibanejad, who was recalled from the American Hockey League on
Monday, was named the game's first star. When asked if he had
earned the right to play Wednesday night against the Montreal
Canadiens, MacLean quipped: "We usually play the first star."



Zibanejad, who has battled injuries this season with the
Binghamton Senators, showed his skill and speed in his first NHL
action since the beginning of the 2011-12 campaign.



"I was hoping I would play good," he said. "I was nervous in the
first period, but then I got that out of the way and started
playing like I should and felt pretty good."



Milan Michalek also scored for the Senators (4-1-1), who got 31
saves from Craig Anderson.



Troy Brouwer and Matt Hendricks scored for the Capitals (1-4-1).
Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 shots in taking the loss for
Washington, which blew a 2-0 lead.



"It's a tough one because when you play a really good hockey
game you obviously want the win," Capitals coach Adam Oates
said. "When you have a 2-0 lead it should be enough in this
league."



Gonchar's winner came after Erik Karlsson wove through the
Capitals' defense on a man advantage before finding his partner,
who fired a one-timer that deflected of Hendricks in front and
past Neuvirth with Ottawa's Chris Neil screening on the play.



Then with time winding down and Washington pressing for the tie,
Anderson made a great save on Alex Ovechkin before robbing Mike
Ribeiro from in tight.



"My job is just to make sure it doesn't get to three," Anderson
said.



The Senators tied the game at 2:20 of the third. Kyle Turris won
a faceoff in the offensive zone and pushed the puck ahead to
Michalek, who scooped it passed a surprised Neuvirth.



"It happened very quick," Neuvirth said. "They won the faceoff
and he just hit it. I'm not even really sure. I need to see the
video."



Playing without Jason Spezza because of an undisclosed upper
body injury, the Senators struggled and the Capitals owned the
first period.



A turnover by Guillaume Latendresse midway through the period at
the Senators' blue-line allowed Wojtek Wolski to jump on the
puck and feed Brouwer, who caught Anderson moving the wrong way.



Washington then made it 2-0 as Hendricks tipped Jay Beagle's
shot home.



The Senators continued to struggle in the second and seemed
incapable of breaking through the Capitals' forecheck as
Washington pinned the home side in its own end for nearly two
minutes, leading to a chorus of boos from the 19,267 on hand at
Scotiabank Place.



Notes: LW Kaspars Daugavins and D Andre Benoit were healthy
scratches for the Senators. Apart from Spezza, D Jared Cowen
(hip, out for season), D Mike Lundin (finger, two weeks) also
missed out. ... C Brooks Laich (strained groin, out
indefinitely), D Jack Hillen (upper body, out indefinitely) sat
for Washington with injuries, while C Marcus Johansson, D Tom
Poti and D Roman Hamrlik were healthy scratches.

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