WASHINGTON -The Washington Capitals have talked a lot over the last few days about finishing the regular season strong, and they've managed to lose three straight games.
Maybe they should take a lesson or two from the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators, also looking to be in top form for the postseason, won their fifth in a row Tuesday night, blowing an early lead before rallying to beat the Capitals 5-4 in overtime.
"At this time of year, not only do you want to win games, but you want to feel good about how you're playing, too," said Senators centre Jason Spezza, who had two goals and two assists. "Confidence is huge this time of year, and there's a big difference between the win and the loss and how the mood is in the room the next day."
Alex Kovalev scored a power-play goal with 18.9 seconds remaining in the extra period - his first point since the Olympic break - shortly after Nicklas Backstrom was whistled for a tripping penalty. Peter Regin and Chris Campoli also scored for the Senators, Daniel Alfredsson added four assists, and Brian Elliott made 17 saves while allowing as many goals as he has did in his last four games, when he went 4-0 with a pair of shutouts.
"I didn't have one of my best nights," Elliott said. "But it shows that we are becoming a pretty good team when your goalie doesn't have his 'A' game, or close to it, but we can still put out a win."
Alexander Semin scored his 36th and 37th goals, and Mike Green and Mathieu Perreault also scored for the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin got his career-high 55th assist for his 101st point of the season. Jose Theodore, who was pulled in the first period of the 5-3 loss to Calgary on Sunday, had another rough outing.
Ottawa took the lead less than 90 seconds into the game on Regin's backhander. Semin tied it on a power play, but Spezza deflected Matt Cullen's one-timer on a power play to make it 2-1 just 4:31 into the first.
Campoli extended the lead to two late in the period as the Senators capitalized on a turnover at the Capitals' blue line. At the time, the Senators had as many goals (three) as the Capitals did shots.
Semin scored on a breakaway to trim the Capitals' deficit to one. Green tied it less than a minute later with a one-timer from the left circle, and late-season call-up Perreault gave the Capitals the lead early in the third period.
But Perreault was whistled for interference a few minutes later, leading to Spezza's goal that tied it at 4-4 with a shot that trickled through Theodore's legs.
NOTES: The Senators can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at Scotiabank Place on Thursday night (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200). It's also Fan Appreciation Night, with a number of giveaways planned ... The Capitals had 21 shots on goal, their fewest since November 2009. They had 28 shots blocked by the Senators ... Kovalev's goal was his 18th, but he had been shut out through his first 12 games after the Vancouver Olympics. ... Alfredsson extended his scoring streak to eight games ... Ottawa D Filip Kuba (lower body) sat out for the 12th time in 13 games, while LW Milan Michalek (left leg) missed his sixth straight ... Despite the loss, Theodore extended his club-record streak to 20 games (17-0-3) without a regulation loss.